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MIT Solve

Last week, MIT Solve hosted the Indigenous and Antiracist Innovators Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Solve’s flagship event for the Indigenous Communities Fellowship program and the Antiracist Technology in the US Challenge.

During the summit, Solve gathered an intimate group of leaders and entrepreneurs to hone in on one primary goal — reimagine Indigenous and antiracist futures for the United States.

“An antiracist future is a decolonized future, and this means addressing our power dynamics,” said Danielle Boyer, Youth Founder and Activist of the STEAM Connection. “We talked about representation, that’s awesome, but it’s very hard to gain footing when it’s representation in someone else's system and they have power there. We need to lead our own solutions for our own communities, and this looks like different things for all of us.”

During the Allies in Innovation Plenary on the summit’s second day, Genesis Garcia, Officer, US Community at MIT Solve asked the panel about their definition of a true ally. Panelists shared their perspectives on building coalitions, supporting communities of color, and what it takes to meaningfully partner with Indigenous and antiracist innovators. 

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“I'm not a fan of the term ally, it falls short of the word friend,” said Marimba Milliones, President/CEO of Hill CDC. “It’s not enough to be friend-like. I need people in the trenches wherever they may be. If those trenches are in philanthropy, on the street, in academia, I need you in those trenches.”

Pictured: Senior Officer, Indigenous Community at MIT Solve Aaron Slater speaks at the Indigenous and Antiracist Innovators Summit.

Pictured: Senior Officer, Indigenous Community at MIT Solve Aaron Slater speaks at the Indigenous and Antiracist Innovators Summit.

The event showcased incredible innovators and change makers from Indigenous, Black, and Brown communities, with Plenary and Breakout Sessions covering the difficulty of imposter syndrome, supporting marginalized communities, and more.

Reimaging Indigenous and antiracist futures may seem like a bold ask for communities that have experienced intergenerational trauma and neglect, but participants and speakers expressed hope over the summit’s two days with an understanding that time is of the essence.

“You can’t stand in the last hour, there is such a thing as showing up too late,” said Aaron Slater, Senior Officer, Indigenous Community at MIT Solve.

Solve will reveal its fourth cohort of Indigenous Communities Fellows and its first class of Black and Brown Innovators during Solve Challenge Finals in New York City on September 18. It will also unveil how over $2 million in funding will be invested to support the new class of Solver teams. Learn more about the event here.

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