Kalimah Priforce offers his Qeyno Labs students the most complete journey possible on their way to adulthood. He is not out to teach them skills per se, but to get them to think as wide as the sky, to picture themselves managing companies and creating new technologies.
At Qeyno, young people of color learn how to code alongside mentors who help them to see themselves as creators, not consumers. “They learn the language of coding so they don’t become the robots,” says Priforce, but he emphasizes that coding is just a tool. “Before you become a hacker and learn how to manipulate code, before you learn how to understand scripts and algorithms, before you get to that, there is a condition that needs to happen to embrace the world,” he says. The condition is that they must see themselves as agents in the world. Only then can they begin to address problems that are important to them, and when they do, the solutions they design are ingenious and compassionate.