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Tech & Humanity

Yeshimabeit Milner

Data for Black Lives

Data can be a tool for liberation. Or a tool for oppression. Let’s take Covid: In the U.S., Black people are hardest hit. It takes data to know this. And it takes knowledge of the context – who has health insurance? Who can take paid time off work? Who gets preferential treatment from doctors? – to understand why and to design interventions. Yet too often, and almost by default, Black data and Black experiences are missing when formulating policy. Yeshi Milner co-founded Data 4 Black Lives, a growing network of +4,000 activists, organizers, researchers, mathematicians and data scientists, to change this scenario. They gather data that lays open the racism that got baked into algorithms and data driven institutional decision making, responsible for Black people getting lower credit scores, higher mortgages, worse insurance policies, worse medical treatment, and harsher sentencing. Together with universities and tech companies, Data 4 Black Lives movement works to expose and correct these biases.

Impact

  • Network of 4,000+ activists, researchers, mathematicians, data scientists debiasing data and address systemic racism

  • Challenged and overturned plans to give schools access to sensitive child welfare and juvenile justice data in Minnesota

  • Fighting biased algorithms nation-wide with the Algorithmic Accountability Act

  • Calling on on Facebook to share a public trust of anonymized data with researchers and advocates

  • D4BL chapters present in cities across the US. Scaling to Mexico, Colombia, Ghana and more

Interesting fact from Yeshi:

“Yeshi’s interest in data activism for racial justice dates back to her middle school days in Miami, when she was suspended for three days for talking back to her sixth-grade technology teacher. Yeshi was devastated - but the episode also led to a discovery. When researching school suspension, she found that Black students were four times as likely to be suspended as white students.”

Plus

Apar Gupta

Demystifying tech & advancing digital rights

Ai-jen Poo

Domestic work makes all other work possible

Anne Basting

Forget Memory, Try Imagination!

Finding the answers to

Who are the gatekeepers? Make them allies

Who makes decisions in the age of machines?

Whose voice are we missing? Correcting bias in data and AI