Data-Driven Efforts to Address Racial Inequality

The GovLab
Jun 8, 2020 · 6 min read

This piece is a supplement to our previous post, How Data Can Map and Make Racial Inequality More Visible (If Done Responsibly). In that piece, we discussed various topics with data components related to racial equality. Those issues are already the focus by numerous organizations.

As we seek to advance the responsible use of data for racial injustice, we encourage individuals and organizations to support and build upon efforts already underway. We welcome additions to this listing — you can share other organizations working on these issues using this form. With an initial, primary focus on the United States, we are especially interested in organizations whose work falls into four categories:

  • Data-Driven Research
  • Data Driven Activism and Advocacy
  • Data-Driven Journalism
  • Data to Measure Racial Injustice

Examples are listed in alphabetical order.

Data-Driven Research:

  • Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies ( A New York University-affiliated network of scholars of color who explore the relationship between digital technologies and race, ethnicity, and identity.
  • Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health ( A University of California, Los Angeles research center working to “explain how racism and other social inequalities influence the health of diverse local, national and global populations.”
  • Data for Black Lives ( A nonprofit group that uses data science to enable tangible improvements in the lives of Black people.
  • Digital Democracies Group ( A research group at Simon Fraser University that “integrates research in the humanities and data sciences to address questions of equality and social justice.”
  • Digital Studies Institute & Precarity Collective ( An interdisciplinary research collaboratives based at University of Michigan studying “various forms of insecurity, vulnerability, and social and cultural exclusion arising from digital platforms.”
  • EqualHealth ( A nonprofit that seeks to promote health equity by helping health professionals understand the “structural and social determinants of health.”
  • Health Equity & Media Lab ( A research lab based at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing that taps into “the vast wealth of data that social media sites provide to glean insights into lived experiences and health behaviors.”
  • ( A project from the Institute for Policy Studies that provides “data, analysis, and commentary on income and wealth inequality,” including its Racial Economic Inequality facts page.
  • National Fair Housing Alliance reports: ( Documents describing fair housing issues in the United States, including an annual snapshot of fair housing enforcement activities.
  • National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership ( A collection of data-driven research produced by a network of organizations based in over 30 cities.
  • Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley’s Equity Metrics Program ( A program developing data-driven research, diagnostic tools, and policy recommendations that seeks to “enhance our understanding of group-based marginality and structures of opportunity.”
  • Partnership on AI ( A multi-stakeholder organization of academics, researchers, civil society organizations and companies creating and using AI technology to establish best practices for AI technologies, including addressing biases in data to make AI more transparent, fair and accountable.
  • PolicyLink ( A “national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity,” especially in low-income communities and communities of color, often through the use of data.
  • SAFElab ( A research initiative at Columbia University that uses qualitative approaches and computational methods, including natural language processing, to better understand “the phenomenon of violence in the lives of youth of color.”
  • The JUST DATA Lab ( A group that seeks “to develop a humanistic approach to data conception, production, and circulation.”
  • Urban Strategies Council ( An organization focusing on racial, social and economic equity with community stakeholders to eliminate poverty in the Bay Area in low-income neighborhoods.

Data-Driven Activism and Advocacy:

  • Algorithmic Justice League United ( An organization that seeks to raise public awareness, equip advocates, and motivate policymakers to address and mitigate racist, sexist, and ableist bias in AI.
  • Center for Policing Equity ( “A national nonprofit organization eliminating bias in policing by measuring it.”
  • Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health ( A collaborative research center based at UCLA investigating the role of racism and social inequalities on the disparate health implications for marginalized communities, using research, advocacy, and community engagement.
  • Community Resource Hub ( A platform that curates and publishes research and open government data to support grassroots activists and organizers to transform the criminal legal system.
  • Data-Driven Justice ( An initiative that “brings communities together to disrupt the cycle of incarceration and crisis,“ through aligning services systems around data.
  • Funders for Justice “A national network of funders increasing resources to grassroots organizations addressing the intersection of racial justice, gender justice, community safety, and policing.”
  • Human Rights Data Analysis Group ( A non-profit organization that applies scientific methods and analysis tools to human rights violation cases, producing an unbiased defense and scientific patterns of injustice.
  • Our Data Bodies ( A research team exploring how digital data collection affects re-entry, housing, public assistance, and community development issues.
  • Race Forward ( A nonprofit network compiling research on racial justice issues to drive a systemic and innovative analysis to dismantle structural racial inequality.
  • Sentencing Project ( A nonprofit organization targeting racial disparities in the carceral system and proposing alternatives to incarceration, using research and advocacy.
  • Southern Poverty Law Center ( A nonprofit legal advocacy that monitors and pursues cases against hate groups.
  • Vera Institute of Justice ( A nonprofit organization that uses cross-disciplinary methods to address mass incarceration and racial disparity, and support communities of color.

Data-Driven Journalism:

Data to Measure Racial Injustice

  • Anti-Eviction Mapping Project ( A collective working primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and New York City that uses data visualization, data analysis, and storytelling to document “the dispossession and resistance upon gentrifying landscapes.”
  • Jackson Heart Study ( A collaboration between institutional partners, the National Institutes of Health, and the community of Jackson, Mississippi to use data to identify the environmental and genetic factors associated with cardiovascular disease and health disparities among African Americans.
  • Justice Map ( An independent effort to map and visualize race and income data for each US neighborhood, county, and state; outputs include the Spatial Justice Test for Race and Income.
  • Mapping Police Violence ( An effort to collect all instances of individuals killed by law enforcement.
  • The Stanford Open Policing Project ( An interdisciplinary team of researchers and journalists based at Stanford University that collects and standardizes various policing data to enable statistical analysis and data journalism.

Data Stewards Network

Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of…

Data Stewards Network

Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century

The GovLab

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The Governance Lab improving people’s lives by changing how we govern. @thegovlab @nyutandon #opendata #peopleledinnovation #datacollab

Data Stewards Network

Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century

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