The Biden Administration has committed to making racial equity one of the pillars of their agenda. 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 conducting 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. In early 2021, CODE began work on data for policing by preparing a Briefing Paper on Policing Data, highlighting needs and opportunities to improve data on officer-involved shootings, complaints against officers, and more. As a follow-up, CODE and the nonprofit Measures for Justice co-hosted a public Webinar and Roundtable in January 2022 on Improving Data for Racial Equity in Policing that brought together various stakeholders with an interest in using data to improve policing, support new criminal justice reform policies, and provide insight on police involvement in marginalized communities. The Roundtable resulted in a report synthesizing the discussions and cross-cutting themes, specific measures of police performance, and a set of recommendations for the field.
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.
In April 2022, CODE co-hosted a public Webinar and Roundtable on Using Data to Advance Racial Equity in Healthcare with the IBM Center for the Business of Government. The initiative explored how data related to health risk, healthcare access, and health outcomes can be leveraged to reduce disparities and improve health equity in the United States. The Roundtable resulted in a summary report with high-level data-driven recommendations for actionable next steps by government, policymakers and other leaders.
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.” CODE is currently working to promote data-driven climate solutions with an equity lens, in projects with the Bezos Earth Fund and other organizations.
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. CODE recently worked with the IBM Center for the Business of Government to develop an Issue Brief on Leveraging Data to Improve Racial Equity in Fair Housing. This report explores a number of opportunities to strengthen data-driven tools to address housing equity and demonstrates how the effects of mortgage lending discrimination and other historic practices are still being felt today.
We also published an article on GovExec outlining how Federal agencies can use data to promote fair housing, emphasizing the importance of historical and current housing data to aid such efforts.
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 recently worked with the IBM Center for the Business of Government to publish a report on Leveraging Data for Racial Equity in Workforce Opportunity.
For a deeper dive into CODE'S Open Data for Racial Equity program, you can check out our Concept Note here. 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.