Why DMV Startup founder Brandon Luong is creating 2 new diversity-in-tech groups - Technical.ly DC

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Sep. 14, 2015 7:33 am

Why DMV Startup founder Brandon Luong is creating 2 new diversity-in-tech groups

“You can’t simply make DC a heaven for a diversified startup ecosystem if there is no structure in place for the various​, or underrepresented,​ ethnic groups.”
Brandon T. Luong hopes to see more events like tiphub’s Diaspora Demo Day.

Brandon T. Luong hopes to see more events like tiphub's Diaspora Demo Day.

(Photo courtesy of tiphub)

D.C. has received accolades for its strong community of women in technology. But it’s still hard to break in here as a person of color.

That’s why DMV Startup founder Brandon T. Luong is creating two new groups that could centralize efforts to organize diversity-focused events.

In a new post on Medium, Luong sketches out the game plan:

Read the full post

The working names for these organizations, which will kick off with networking get-togethers and introductory coding classes, are Latin@s en Tech and Digital Afrikans.

“As tech has the stigma of being an all white male club, I want to make the community and tech pool more diversified,” said Luong in an email. “However, you can’t simply make DC a heaven for a diversified startup ecosystem if there is no structure in place for the various​, or underrepresented,​ ethnic groups.”

Luong is not trying to create a redundant club; instead, he wants to collaborate with the groups that are already in place.

Some early members of Latin@s en Tech include Phone2Action cofounder Ximena HartsockOptoro’s Dianna Leyton, Social Driver CEO Thomas Sanchez, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Jessica Hernandez and Code for Progress’ Mariella Paulino.

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At Digital Afrikans, interested parties include Nexercise’s Olubunmi “Boomie” Odumade, tiphub’s Chika UmeadiIjeoma S. Nwatu, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Brandon Dubé and I/O Spaces’ Leslie Tita.

Local women-in-tech groups — which are legion — have similarly combined forces by launching umbrella organization DCFemTech in the Spring of 2014.

“We can take a page out of the women tech groups, which exploded in the past 2 years, and apply that to cultural organizations,” said Luong.

The prodigal son of #dctech also announced the revival of the DC Hardware Startup Meetup group and the launch of a so-called “DMV Startup Council.”

Through this new body, Luong hopes “to gather all the juggernauts of the beltway to ensure we are making meaningful strives to the community, and take a unified step closer to being a hotspot for startups,” he wrote on Medium.

If you’ve got some thoughts on this idea, you can fill out his questionnaire.

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