Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI) and sponsors Southern Company, OMG Media Solutions and Poarch Band of Creek Indians unite to bring innovation and youth development training that prepares students for careers of the 21st century. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (February 28, 2017) Montgomery, Alabama – Van Jones, co-founder of #YesWeCode is bringing a hackathon technology bootcamp to Montgomery, Alabama as part of the historic Spirit of Rosa Parks day events where civil rights icons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King’s daughter, Dr. Bernice A. King will serve as a distinguished judge for high school students from Tuskegee, Selma, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama.   Van Jones recently sent a powerful video message to the students of Alabama encouraging them to show up ready to innovative and receive the benefits from his team of technology experts coming to Montgomery to inspire Alabama’s marginalized students and engage them in a focused session on coding, owning their education journey and taking control of their future. 

In a state where 19% of Alabama’s population lives in poverty and where 50 out of 75 schools on the failing list of Alabama schools recently published by the Alabama State Board of Education in January, were high schools, forcing Montgomery Public Schools into State stewardship.  The stakes are extremely high and there is no tolerance or time for blaming anyone.  The message is acting now to help students navigate their way towards academic success and for the community to get involved in beyond the classroom.  Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute under the leadership of Mrs. Doris Crenshaw is taking a leadership role in bringing the community together to promote progress and create change in education policy.

Spirit of Rosa Parks Day

The #YesWeCode Hackathon Montgomery, a technology bootcamp and competition is part of the Spirit of Rosa Parks day events, kicking off on March 4th from 9am – 12noon.  The schools’ locations are significant to Mrs. Rosa Parks journey prior to and during the Montgomery bus boycott.  Registration is free for all high school students.  The day will start with a light breakfast and introduction from the judges, followed by two preparation workshops, “Coding101” and “Center of Gravity”. Four teams of six will compete in the final competition presenting their “education” or “economic empowerment” innovative in the form of a prototype that can be displayed in diagram, presentation, modeling or any creative way they choose to define their innovation.  One team will be awarded the “Spirit of Rosa Parks Innovation Award” which will be presented at The Recy Taylor Story event from 1:00pm – 3:00pm at Alabama State University.  All finalists will receive prizes provided by OMG Media Solutions and #YesWeCode

Mrs. Doris Crenshaw, founder of SYLDI was mentored by Mrs. Rosa Parks and served as the Vice President of the NAACP youth council in Montgomery at the young age of twelve (12). “Mentoring is critically important to help youth navigate a very complicated education and economic system.  It is important that students understand that their job is to show up ready to discover and innovate”, said Mrs. Crenshaw.  Showing up is key to taking advantage of these resources to prepare students for high paying careers of the 21st century.

Dr. Bernice A. King, CEO of The King Center was quoted as saying “reducing the education inequality gap is a priority for The King Center and to be invited to participate in a day that honors my father and mother’s legacy is an honor”.  Dr. Bernice A. King will judge the competition with technology experts, Monique Linder (Founder/CEO of OMG Media Solutions), Felix Flores (National Director of #YesWeCode and Rodney Sampson (Technology Expert / Angel Investor).

Information can be found at:

Get involved and stay connected on social media at:

Twitter: @_SYLDI       Facebook: SYLDIOfficial        Google+: SYLDI MONTGOMERY

Download full press release here.


 About Southern Youth Leadership Development Institute (SYLDI)

SYLDI’s mission is to provide opportunity to youth through programs that create policy change in education and protection of voter’s rights based on the legacy of civil rights leaders that gave their lives fighting for freedom and human rights for all. SYLDI established in Montgomery, Alabama in 2004 to train youth 12-18 years of age to combat the inequalities of education. SYLDI inspires, cultivates and trains youth with leadership potential to bring about a more disciplined approach to problem identification and resolution of issues that impact our education policies. More information at:

About #YesWeCode

Many have been searching for ways to uplift today’s urban youth and help them achieve a more promising future. We believe that one solution lies in connecting tech and social justice leaders to spearhead revolutionary tech programs whose benefits extend to the most disadvantaged of society. #YesWeCode is a Dream Corps initiative that works with partners to help connect 100,000 underrepresented minorities to careers in technology. More information at:

About The King Center

Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) has been a global destination, resource center and community institution for over a quarter century. Nearly a million people each year make pilgrimage to the National Historic Site to learn, be inspired and pay their respects to Dr. King’s legacy. More information at: