FWD.us, the Mark Zuckerberg founded organization that aims to increase awareness about immigration reform in the U.S., named the three winners of its DREAMer Hackathon, which took place in Mountain View, CA last week.
At the start of the 24-hour coding competition on Wednesday, several of the founders of FWD.us, including Zuckerberg, executive Chairman of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston, hosted the 20 coders, all of whom are undocumented. Zuckerberg told them he thinks that immigration reform is “one of the biggest civil rights issues of our time.”
The participants were tasked with building products that aid the immigration reform movement, and after 24 hours of coding, three winners were selected by an expert panel, which included Zuckerberg, Houston, Hoffman, and Andrew Mason. The organizers of the hackathon said they’d like to take some of the initial prototypes that came out the competition and continue working on them until they're viable apps.
The most interesting winner, perhaps, was Luis Anguilar whose team developed Push 4 Reform.
Learning a representative's stance on the issue.
Push 4 Reform: The app allows community members to look up information about their congressperson and learn where he or she stands on immigration reform. Users can also use the app to call or email their representative.
Before the competition began on Wednesday, I spoke to Aguilar, 25, of Falls Church, VA.
He said that he was unable to finish college because of his status. As an undocumented student he couldn't receive in-state tuition, and the cost of school became unaffordable. As a result, he learned how to code by taking online courses through Udacity and Coursera.
I asked Aguilar what unique skills he thought immigrants bring to business.
“The immigrant community is always good at thinking outside of the box,” he responded. “They have to -- they have to make lemonade with lemons.”
Other winners included:
#Undoculife is a gaming app that uses hypothetical scenarios to educate the undocumented immigrant community about their rights.
I Have A DREAM: The Facebook app lets users tell their personal stories and provides a way for them to connect to the larger community.