Why I’m going to a coding school before I take on America. 🇺🇸

Hi, my name’s Blake.

I really care about communities and culture. I wrote this piece to explain how my love for communities led me into learning code:

a picture of me post-mardi gras in NOLA.

It all started with a personal mission: to get a better understanding of what’s going on around America.

Like many, I’m worried about the direction America is headed. Between the polarization, political tensions and the disheveled state of news media within the nation, I started wondering what was really on people’s minds and what realities people faced in different parts of America.

So a little over a year ago I decided to follow that curiosity by taking trips around America to find out just that. I figured by exploring my curiosity, I would not only figure out what was on the minds of other citizens but also discover unique and underrepresented stories happening across America. To do so, I created the Where We Are Now docuseries and started booking trips.

“Bad, boring & basic news made me want to find a way to better represent communities.”

Between having a grandfather who was a Freedom Rider and a Councilman as a dad, I got involved with community work at a young age. From it, I got to see the various sides of communities, and just how diverse they can be. However, when I turned to local news that variety wasn’t there. Local outlets steadily seem grim, sharing seemingly majority negative news with the bulk of it being on people of color. Yet, communities have so many more positive things going on.

I realized community representation was something I couldn’t turn away from in college when I helped do voter registration in Ferguson, MO. In going door to door, locals would share crazy stories of their experiences living in the city’s culture. I was baffled that none of these stories were genuinely represented, and I found myself wanting to do something about that.

Vngle’s logo

I believe America has a problem with how it represents its communities across the country. Every community is its own microcosm of culture and complex conditions, yet so many stories that represent the culture of communities aren’t covered. Because of that, I started Vngle. Vngle is a space to share “various angles” on culture and underrepresented stories happening in communities across America. I see Vngle as not only an outlet to give voice to communities, but also one to educate and expose the public to cross-cultural points of view that persist in local communities.

I believe, through helping communities better represent themselves, Vngle can play a part to help strengthen America’s union. The Where We Are Now docuseries is just one of the first means in helping to do that.

a #WWAN docuseries poster

Thus far, the docuseries has traveled to19 cites. The experiences in each city differ rather drastically and from them, I’ve learned so much about what’s going on in America and the needs communities have. Because of that, I decided to take some time to better prepare myself for a more in-depth journey. So, I chose to attend a coding school.

Though my work experiences, I’ve become fairly well versed in technology and startups, yet I felt this project deserved deeper expertise to prevent any major hiccups. To properly prepare for the work, I started the software engineering program at the Flatiron School. I wanted to make sure I was prepared for anything that comes my way and that I was fully able to share a comprehensive view of America through the eyes of its communities by the end of 2020.

So for a little while, I’ll be busy developing my skills and gearing up to take Vngle’s efforts to whole new heights. During this process, I’ll be sharing more videos from the Where We Are Now docuseries through social media @VngleStories.

Before you go…

here’s a glimpse into some @VngleStories shared so far :

Humacao, Puerto Rico (taken a year after Hurricane Maria)

A university building still in shambles at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao

Syracuse, NY:

Perspectives from an American sanctuary city.

Atlanta, GA

Stacy Abrams’ parents on how her upbringing shaped her into who she is today.

LaPlace, LA

Showcasing a local Mardi Gras parade in LaPlace, LA (Vngle).

Stay tuned for more stories from the Where We Are Now docuseries. Please follow @VngleStories, on instagram, facebook, or twitter to stay updated.

Also, if you know anyone who might be interested in Vngle’s work any shape or form, please tell them to reach out to me at blake@vngle.com.

Peace,

Blake Stoner

The official [Where We Are Now] “split” shirt.

P.s. if you feel compelled to do so, please support Vngle’s Patreon page.

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Founder of Vngle — “various angles” of verified grassroots news for the people and by the people. 🇺🇸

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Blake Stoner

Blake Stoner

Founder of Vngle — “various angles” of verified grassroots news for the people and by the people. 🇺🇸

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