I4DI Maps the Results of 2020’s Racial Justice Activism

I4DI Maps the Results of 2020’s Racial Justice Activism

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Since early July, I4DI’s Data for Social Change: Mapping the Result’s of 2020’s Racial Justice Activism project has been steadily progressing. Supported by a core, six person research team, and ten additional data contributors, the database in on track to capture hundreds of actions by institutions across this country and across the globe.

The D4SC database collates the tangible results of global protests and racial justice activism after May 25th, 2020, the date of George Floyd’s murder by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. We use the world “tangible” consciously, knowing that this database can only capture actual institutional action, not the racial awareness or changed hearts and minds that this activism may have created in the general public.

Four key sectors have shaped the overall architecture of the database and served as the starting point for our data collection: public, private, academia, and civil society. From there, we further broke down the sectors into sub-sectors, or types of institutions, for more advanced exploration and analysis of results by database users. Additionally, we developed a categorization system for types of action. While at first, we intended to create “levels of action” i.e. putting judgement on the magnitude of an institution’s response, we decided against this approach to ensure un-biased coding. The resultant categorization system includes 18 institution types and 10 action types. The research team encourages all database users to view data with a critical eye. Did the institution go far enough? Do their actions adequately answer the calls of protestors and activists? Has the institution made good on their promises and stated commitments, or were their words empty? 

A Glimpse Into Our Codebook...

Institution Type Definition Examples
Charitable Organization
An organization with a philanthropic mission
The Salvation Army, Open Society Foundations, The Nature Conservancy, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Local Government
Any office or individual acting in their official capacity within the local (county/city/metroplex) branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial) and its associated departments
New York City Council, Louisville Metro Council, the Mayor of Chicago
Professional/ Academic Networks
A group of professionals or individuals connected within a specific discipline related to research, professions, or hobbies
Scrabble Association, Association of Medical Colleges, Association of Black Psychologists, National Basketball Players Association
Tech Firms
A company that develops and manufactures technology products or provides technological services, including social media companies
Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Instagram, Facebook
Action Type Definition Examples
Expression of Solidarity
Written/verbal statements or artistic displays that explicitly stand with the Black Lives Matter movement or in solidarity with creating an antiracist culture and society
Morgan Stanley releases a statement standing with Black Lives Matter and protesters; Washington, D.C paints Black Lives Matter on the avenue in front of the White House
Honoring Black History and Culture
Actions that highlight businesses, individuals, organizations, or events that honor Black history and culture
Virginia recognizes Juneteenth as a statewide holiday; University of Texas renames building after civil rights leader; Netflix releases special collection of movies/shows that highlight the black experience
Police Reform
An organizational change or action within a police department that creates fundamental, systematic change that affects more than one officer
New Jersey introduces bill that establishes the crime of strangulation chokeholds; Connecticut limits police use of force and enforces accountability
Removal of Racist Symbols
Statements or actions associated with removing racists symbols, such as building names, statues, team names, or brand names
Lady Antebellum changes name to Lady A; Confederate statues removed in Richmond, Virginia; NASCAR bans confederate flags at races

Where Do We Go From Here...

With our in-house data visualization capabilities, I4DI has begun laying the groundwork for the public release of the database, slated for the end of November 2020. We intend to produce interactive, accessible visualizations to allow users to get a better sense of the story behind the data points. More specifically, we intend to illustrate what sustained, collective action can do. To that end, our data dashboard is currently in development, with mapping, timeline, and tabulation of the data points underway. These visualizations will be embedded in the public platform to facilitate sense-making of the data and further analysis in comparison to daily protests.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the Data for Social Change project as a Data Contributor, do not hesitate to contact Chelsea Raubenheimer at craubenheimer@i4di.org. I4DI would also like to extend its sincerest thanks to those already contributing to our research and data collection. As a research institution committed to using evidence and data to improve social policy for more equitable outcomes, I4DI sees this as a contribution to the continuing critical work of building an anti-racist culture and promoting racial justice around the world, because Black Lives Matter.

Chelsea Raubenheimer

Team Lead

Riqia Taylor

Research Assistant

Jackson Makl

Research Assistant

Athena Owirodu

Research Assistant

Ali Shafi

Research Assistant

Liping Wang

Former Research Assistant


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