Using Local Data to Address Structural Racism

Structural racism in policies, laws, and practices affects the quality of many conditions in communities of color, impeding fair and just opportunities to be as healthy as possible. The inequities created by structural racism touch many aspects of people’s lives, including housing, transportation, the natural and built environment, childcare and early education, and community safety and policing. Local data can be a powerful tool for people to reveal these inequities and ultimately address the impacts of structural racism.

In its latest program to support local efforts to leverage data in community change, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute (Urban) awarded a total of $1.5 million to 38 organizations across the US and its territories through the Using Local Data to Address Structural Racism grant program.

The 38 grantees are using quantitative and qualitative data to understand how racial inequities manifest in community conditions and the systemic causes driving them. They are engaging with residents, community organizations, and government agencies to interpret the data and to design and inform solutions to address the inequities in their communities. Urban will provide grantees assistance on data, policy, and community engagement, host peer learning opportunities, and document insights from grantee experiences.

You can learn more about the grantees and their projects below, as well as at our Medium blog site. We hope their efforts will inspire you to make a difference in your own communities.  

501CTHREE

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Environmental conditions

Examining concentrations of lead and contaminants in Watts residents’ drinking water and expanding access to mitigation resources to address disparities in water quality

Air Alliance Houston

Houston and Harris County, TX
United States

Environmental conditions

Addressing inequities in air quality and their resulting health effects through neighborhood-level air monitoring and advocacy.

Amparo

Albuquerque, NM
United States

Housing

Examining barriers to stable and healthy housing for renters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and supporting community organizing to improve access to quality affordable housing.

Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates

San Francisco, CA
United States

Environmental conditions

Training residents to track environmental pollution and contamination sites while building advocacy capacity to push for environmental justice.

BikeWalkKC

Kansas City, MO
United States

Transportation, Built Environment

Using data to understand the relationship of traffic-related injuries to the built environment and infrastructure in historically marginalized neighborhoods and to develop recommendations for prioritizing infrastructure investments. 

Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Milwaukee, WI
United States

Community safety and policing

Examining the supply of guns and developing solutions to reduce gun access to combat gun violence in Milwaukee neighborhoods.

Californians for Pesticide Reform

San Joaquin Valley, CA
United States

Environmental conditions

Addressing the disproportionate impacts of pesticide exposure in agricultural communities by building the capacity of local organizations in the San Joaquin Valley to advocate for policy change.

Catalyst Miami

Miami, FL
United States

Financial Systems

Identifying drivers of debt among communities with low wealth and communities of color in Miami-Dade County to help inform advocacy on economic justice.

Child Poverty Action Lab

Dallas, TX
United States

Housing

Identifying repair needs in substandard homes through community surveys and assessing the reach and equity of Dallas home-repair programs to improve housing quality. 

Circulate San Diego

San Diego, CA
United States

Built Environment

Addressing inequities in San Diego’s public parks through an analysis of green space accessibility and roadway safety. 

Connecticut Data Collaborative (CTData)

Hartford, CT 06101
United States

Childcare and early childhood education

Analyzing data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early care and education system and child outcomes in Hartford, Connecticut.  

 

Cook County Family Connection

Cook County, GA
United States

Built Environment

Using data to inform and explain inequities across a range of social determinants of health in western Cook County, Georgia. 

Data You Can Use

Milwaukee, WI
United States

Youth Achievement

Analyzing and collecting data on Black youth opportunity in Milwaukee to support community advocacy for more resources in Black neighborhoods.

DataWorks NC

Durham, NC
United States

Housing

Analyzing data to identify racial and ethnic disparities in eviction practices and interpreting findings through community gallery walks to inform changes to local policies and programs.

El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission

Austin, TX
United States

Food insecurity and access

Using listening sessions and quantitative data to strengthen food access infrastructure in central Texas, El Buen seeks to understand the structural conditions affecting low-income Latino/a residents in Austin and address health inequities.

Elevated Chicago

Chicago, IL
United States

Transportation

Developing a community-driven vision for the redevelopment of vacant land near public transit. 

Essex County Community Organization

Essex County, MA
United States

Housing

Understanding housing security from the perspective of tenants and landlords who are immigrants to improve advocacy for additional aid.  

Family Housing Fund

Minneapolis, MN
United States

Housing

Examining the experience of renters of corporate-owned single- family properties to develop policy recommendations for preserving housing quality and reducing risk of displacement. 

Greater Greater Washington

Washington, DC
United States

Transportation

Linking data on structural transit inequities with health disparities to increase collaboration among Washington, DC, agencies around transportation decision-making.

 

Grounded Strategies

Pittsburgh, PA
United States

Housing

Analyzing data and community interviews to understand the root causes of hypervacancy in Black communities to develop a framework for racially just land recycling.

Groundwork Bridgeport

Bridgeport, CT 06601
United States

Built Environment

Analyzing tree distribution and canopy cover in communities with low incomes to address tree equity through improved stewardship and expanded plantings in Bridgeport. 

Hester Street Collaborative

New York , NY
United States

Community safety and policing

Analyzing data on police response to mental health crises by neighborhood to understand disproportionate impacts and potential avenues for change. 

Higher Expectations for Racine County

Racine , WI
United States

Childcare and early childhood education

Analyzing data and organizing community engagement sessions to identify the barriers to early childhood education access faced by families living in formerly redlined areas of Racine, Wisconsin.

Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Philadelphia

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Housing

Engaging with nonprofit affordable housing building owners to understand the impacts of COVID-19 and develop community-based eviction prevention strategies in neighborhoods that are disproportionately affected by housing and health inequities.

Local Motion

Columbia, MO
United States

Transportation

Visualizing walking and biking infrastructure needs to advocate for equity-focused transportation investments.

Maryland Center on Economic Policy

Baltimore, MD
United States

Housing

Synthesizing data and engaging key stakeholders to assess the neighborhood-based implications of using small-area fair market rents for housing choice vouchers in Baltimore.

North Carolina Budget and Tax Center

Rockingham County, NC
United States

Broadband access

Analyzing data on broadband access for Black communities in Rockingham, North Carolina, to support the pursuit of funding to address the racial digital divide.

Open Hand Atlanta

Atlanta, GA
United States

Food insecurity and access

Seeking to understand barriers to healthy food access for older adults.

Para Los Niños

Los Angeles , CA
United States

Housing

A resident-led survey and analysis to address housing insecurity and its related health impacts on communities of color in Central and East Los Angeles County.

Rhode Island KIDS COUNT, Inc.

Providence County, RI
United States

Childhood overweight and obesity

Examining the root causes of childhood overweight and obesity in Rhode Island to raise awareness and develop community-driven recommendations that reduce racial and ethnic disparities.

Spectrum Lakeland Health

Berrien County, MI
United States

Community trust and cohesion

Collecting data on social cohesion, health provider trust, and neighborhood conditions to understand their impact on health inequities and to facilitate collective action.

Together for Kids Coalition

Worcester, MA
United States

Childcare and early childhood education

Collecting data on early education and care to map care deserts, understand their driving factors, and develop policy recommendations to address inequities. 

Vecindario de Lacy en Acción

Santa Ana, CA
United States

Housing

Conducting a community survey to understand displacement pressures and housing insecurity in the wake of COVID-19 and a new rent control ordinance in Santa Ana, California.

WE ACT for Environmental Justice

New York, NY
United States

Environmental conditions

Tracking heat waves and power outages to better understand health impacts on low-income communities and communities of color.

We Are Better Together | Warren Daniel Hairston Project

Roxbury, MA
United States

Community safety and policing

Providing research to support advocacy for African American women who are caregivers who have lost loved ones through homicide or incarceration related to community violence, as these women are not consistently supported by funding programs, public agencies, and traditional mental health care