Who are we?
The Institute for Development Impact (I4DI) is an international research and consulting firm with a focus on global sustainability. In June 2020, when organizations, many of which are documented in this database, took action against systemic injustices, we began to think what we could do ourselves to contribute to the movement. Given our position at the nexus between research and technology, we thought our institutional skillset could best be used to develop a historical archive/database to document, map, and visualize the tangible results of the global protests and racial justice activism in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Committed to using evidence and data to improve social policy for more equitable outcomes, I4DI saw this as a contribution to the important work that has been done, and still needs doing, to build an anti-racist culture and promote racial justice around the world, because Black Lives Matter. To that end, the Data for Social Change project was launched.
Over the summer of 2020, the core research team jointly developed the overall project scope, coding structure, and data collection protocols. Later in the year, our team onboarded several data contributors to help input and categorize results. With their support, we were able to grow the database to over 600 data points. Our data visualization team worked concurrently to build the charts and maps you see on the homepage. Due to difficulties of the covid-19 pandemic, progress slowed in 2021, with much of the data entry stopping entirely. However, as of June 2021, we are very pleased to launch the D4SC website, exhibiting what we were able to achieve in the past year. Yet we still see this project as incomplete. Hundreds, or most likely thousands, of results can and should still be captured. As we take this next step to share publicly the database, we look forward to opportunities and/or partnerships that could continue driving forward the goals of D4SC.
What is the purpose of D4SC?
The purpose of Data for Social Change: Mapping the Results of 2020’s Racial Justice Activism is to collate international, national, and subnational data regarding public policy changes, awareness-building campaigns, announced reforms, and commitments by both public and private institutions made in response to the calls from protesters and activists following the murder of George Floyd on May 25th, 2020.
High-level project goals are to 1) provide a valuable resource to activists wishing to cite objective evidence of change brought about by this historical moment of the movement, 2) build incentives/social pressure for other actors to make changes by highlighting positive action of peer institutions, and 3) provide a searchable, unified, and comprehensive body of evidence for reference by journalists, researchers, decision-makers, and interested members of the general public. I4DI seeks to provide data, without analysis of the collected results (i.e. their effectiveness, relevance/appropriateness, extent), to allow users to generate their own insights and conclusions around the effects of this sustained political pressure from racial justice movements.
How is research conducted?
Data collection is conducted exclusively through Internet-based research, with a combination of direct investigation into a particular institution’s website for an official announcement, bill, or press release and/or systematic scanning of published news articles that indicate or describe the action of a particular institution or set of institutions. A result (i.e. data point) is considered for inclusion in the database if an original source document, and in some cases, a credible news article that broke a particular story in the absence of an official announcement by the acting institution, is identified. Source documents take the form of proposed/passed bills, press releases, blog posts, Tweets, etc. shared publicly by the acting institution. Results are also only included if they serve to further reinforce, support, or respond to 2020’s activism. As such, should a particular action be a negative response to and/or result of the activism (arrests of protesters, etc.), it is not included in the database. Once a data point is added to the database, it is then verified by two additional researchers, ensuring triangulation prior to publication.