The Biden Administration has committed to making racial equity one of the pillars of their Build Back Better Agenda, and it has become a priority for CODE as well. To be successful, this new Administration will need more and better highly accessible data to identify and analyze racial inequalities, develop solutions, and track progress.
To aid in this effort, and support the overall advancement of racial equity, CODE is now launching a project on Open Data for Racial Equity to find ways the federal government can partner with groups outside of government to develop data-driven solutions. CODE has written about our vision for this project in Government Executive, FedScoop, and Blavity. We see a need an opportunity to apply data for racial equity in five critical areas:
Criminal justice. The national movement for police reform underscores the lack of transparent policing data. CODE’s new Briefing Paper on Policing Data highlights needs and opportunities to improve data on officer-involved shootings, complaints against officers, and more.
Healthcare access. Studies of the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH), including a recent CODE project with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, show that poor healthcare access is one of many factors that put Black and Brown Americans at higher risk. Better data on the SDOH and COVID-19, and better analyses using SDOH data, are essential to fighting the pandemic in minority communities.
Environmental justice. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by environmental hazards, from sea-level rise to air pollution. While the EPA continues to release datasets on air quality and through the Toxics Release Inventory program, it could do much more to properly implement its environmental justice program with data to achieve “fair treatment and meaningful involvement.”
Fair housing. Open data on unfair housing practices has been a tool to fight racial discrimination for decades, and remains critical to ensuring Black Americans can live in thriving neighborhoods. The current Administration can implement policy changes to HUD regulations to “affirmatively further fair housing,” review the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act, and partner with the private sector to use data for housing for all.
Workforce opportunity. Access to good jobs, and the education and training to qualify for them, are keys to reducing racial economic disparities. Better data, and better data standards are needed to ensure that workers can access training that matches employers’ needs - particularly important for Black and Hispanic students.
CODE’s work on open data for racial equity is just beginning. We hope it will have a significant impact over time. We welcome inquiries and opportunities for collaboration at firstname.lastname@example.org.