Kalimah Priforce

A child’s future should never be dictated by their zip code but is influenced by who and what they are exposed to.

At eight years old, Kalimah Priforce held a successful hunger strike against his Brooklyn group home to add more books to its library, which drew the attention of a community of Buddhist monks and nuns who privately tutored him until the age of 14.

He left the order as a lost irrepressible teenager, but in Harlem, NY, he was discovered by legendary educator Dr. Lorraine Monroe, whose mentorship sowed the seeds to him becoming a social innovator. By 16, Kalimah started his first computer tech company that primarily served low income neighborhoods and the elderly. In October of 2000, his younger brother was shot and killed behind their childhood elementary school, inspiring Kalimah to form a lifelong commitment to transforming the lives of high potential youth towards mindfulness of their path and purpose.

Priforce is the co-founder of Qeyno Labs, an education innovation startup that works to close the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) diversity gap in K-12 education. Qeyno harnesses the interests of high potential youth in low-opportunity settings into STEM career pathways using web and mobile-based technology built through an inclusive hackathon model that promotes mentorship and innovation in the app space.

Qeyno recently launched the first hackathon focused on Black Male Achievement in Oakland and has been featured on Essence Magazine, Jet, KQED, NPR’s “Tell Me More”, and PBS Newshour and has been recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change in increasing STEM diversity and access.

Kalimah is a 2013 Echoing Green fellow and one of the driving forces behind The Hidden Genius Project, an Oakland-based program that trains black male youth in entrepreneurial thinking, software development, and user experience design. In Partnership with YesWeCode, Qeyno is launching a hackathon at the 2014 Essence Music Festival.