Prince Helped Launch #YesWeCode for African-American Youth

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Prince YesWeCode

Following Prince’s sudden death, more and more details about the musician’s life are coming to the surface and being highlighted, including a lot of the good he did that many weren’t aware of.

One opportunity Prince helped to create, the #YesWeCode initiative, was shared by his friend, CNN commentator Van Jones, who revealed that he was inspired to launch the program after the murder of Trayvon Martin. Jones shared the story during his keynote address at the #YesWeCode launch, held during the 20th Anniversary Essence Music Festival in 2014. “After the Trayvon Martin verdict I was talking to Prince and he said, ‘You know, every time people see a young black man wearing a hoodie, they think, he’s a thug. But if they see a young white guy wearing a hoodie they think, oh that might be Mark Zuckerberg. That might be a dot-com billionaire.’

“I said, ‘Well, yeah, Prince that’s true but that’s because of racism.’ And he said, ‘No, it’s because we have not produced enough black Mark Zuckerbergs. That’s on us. That’s on us. To deal with what we’re not doing to get our young people prepared to be a part of this new information economy.’

The end result of that conversation was the start of #YesWeCode, which was launched to “uplift today’s urban youth and help them achieve a more promising future” through “connecting tech and social justice leaders to spearhead revolutionary tech programs whose benefits extend to the most disadvantaged of society.”

#YesWeCode’s website currently features a section entirely dedicated to Prince, with a message that reads, “#YesWeCode would like to honor Prince and thank him for his inspired vision for #YesWeCode. Prince’s commitment to ensuring young people of color have a voice in the tech sector continues to impact the lives of future visionaries creating the tech of tomorrow.”

Jones recently reflected on his friend’s kindness on Dr. Drew’s show:

pictured: (Exclusive Coverage) Prince performs onstage with 3RDEYEGIRL during their ‘HITnRUN’ tour at Sony Centre For The Performing Arts on May 19, 2015 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NPG Records 2015)