Working against systems of oppression

Published on Jul 21, 2021

Last summer, DataMade made a commitment to examine the ways in which our work has supported systems that destroy Black lives, particularly policing and incarceration. As we wrote then, this is slow work, and much of it is quiet work rooted in reflection, study, and relationship building.

A year later, we’d like to share an update on the steps we have taken so far and reaffirm our commitment to continue working to redirect power from oppressive systems to those that support democracy, justice, and equity for all.

First, we have held true to our commitment to never again build tools or technology that supports policing or incarceration.

We have also made a number of internal changes at DataMade aimed toward being more inclusive of different perspectives among existing staff, and building and retaining a diverse staff over time.

We commit to continuing in the shared struggle against systems of oppression. To that end, we have several initiatives in progress.

  • We are developing a new round of the DataMade mentorship program focused on training and empowering more BIPOC technologists.
  • We are writing and implementing a data curriculum through The Circuit in order to train more BIPOC journalists in data analysis.
  • We are measuring representation among our client base and working to increase our number of clients who are BIPOC.
  • We are working with community partners to identify alternative measures of safety that are more accurate and less harmful than crime data.

Reflection, learning, and change are not easy, but neither are they impossible. It is incumbent upon us as technologists to act with care from our position of power in order to prevent or repair harm to our communities and team, and elevate those who do not enjoy the same privileged position.

If you or your organization would like to hear more details on any of our initiatives, we’d be happy to share them. We are also always open to feedback or new ideas as to how we can improve our work, practices, and partnership. Get in touch with us at