The social justice goals of my internship are to help combat police shootings and bring more public attention to racism in America. One major strategy that my company uses is being part of an institution. Boston University has a lot of credibility, which is helpful when addressing issues of injustice that marginalized populations face. It is has been very useful to use an institution that has power and influence when dealing with this topic that is often overlooked by many.
Currently we are looking to create a large database measuring racism in each state. We are looking at factors such as incarceration rates, housing segregation, medium income, unemployment, educational attainment, and homeownership. We made a big step recently, as we finished gathering all the information. We still have a long way to go before we finished with our project and ultimately relate it back to police brutality, but this is still a huge accomplishment. We will be the first people to publish information on this topic that is this extensive. Nowhere can someone find a breakdown of these measures of racism on a state basis charted across a span of twenty-five years. The only comparable article is this wallet hub article that only measures a couple of factors and only does so for one year.
Our data collection can be used beyond our work as well. Having statistical evidence that proves systemic racism can be incredibly useful combating racism in America. Many Americans deny that racism is an issue and doubt the validity of various social activist groups, so having hard facts will help strengthen the arguments to defend the cause. There is a huge backlash against social justice, and there even news outlets where millions of views can be influenced into thinking that America does not have a problem with racism, thereby overlooking and invalidating a real cause. This is an example of one of these programs. We hope that this data will be useful in arguing against this kind of rhetoric and hopefully inform people.
With our data we are planning on creating a points system to rank all fifty states on a scale to most to least racist. We hope to find correlation between states that have higher rank on racism with higher rates of police shootings. This will prove that police brutality and race are interconnected and it is a real issue that disproportionally affects people of color. After this step we are then planning on looking at states that have high rates of police shooting and seeing if there is any correlation with that state’s firearm laws and restrictions. We are hoping to find that state with more lenient firearm regulations have higher rates of police shootings. This information will give us a plan to try and lowering police shootings. Finally we then hope to publish our findings and use them. There is a long journey ahead of us and sometimes it is hard to imagine this happening in one summer. Our progress with our data collections however is an important mark of what we have accomplished thus far. Progress at our site works when we all have an imaginable goal.