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Fighting The Good Fight: Google Donates $11.5 Million To Bolster Racial Equality And Justice Causes

24 February 2017, 5:55 am EST By Carl Velasco Tech Times
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Google has announced its commitment to bolster racial equity in the country’s criminal justice system, believing that data can be part of that step forward. It’s donating $11.5 million for the cause, significantly larger than its previous efforts.  ( The Keyword | Google )

At this day and age, there's still a noxious conversation — undeniably insufficient, if not absent, conversation altogether — regarding race inequality and politics, especially when set against the foreground of the criminal justice system. As a result, Google is doubling its efforts to support those committed to fighting racial injustice and inequality this year.

Google Shells Out Funds For Racial Justice Efforts

The company has announced that it is donating $11.5 million in grants to groups using data to pinpoint and highlight problems and attempt to search for solutions for racial inequality in the criminal justice system, as reported by USA Today. The amount is significantly more than the figure Google has given in the past regarding similar causes.

Better Data Can Be Part Of The Solution, Google Says

"We believe better data can be can be part of the solution, which is why we're investing in organizations using data and evidence to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system," said Justin Steele, Principal of Google.org, the company's charitable arm.

"We must find ways to improve the accessibility and usefulness of information."

Center for Policing Equity, a research center that concerts with police departments and communities nationwide in order to track use of force and police stops, is one of the groups Google will lend funding to, receiving $5 million — the largest among the grants. Engineers at Google will also devote their time to bolster the organization's database, as per USA Today's report.

Google is also committed in supporting two California-based organizations focused on leveraging data to bring more equity in the country's justice system. Google is giving $1.5 million to Measures for Justice, which will be used to establish a web-based platform that allows anyone to cull snapshots of their local justice system's treatment of people, which will then be examined under the basis of offense history and across various categories of race or ethnicity, gender, age, and indigent status.

Other organizations Google has announced support for are Impact Justice, with its Restorative Justice Project, aiming to prevent nearly 2,000 youth, primarily those of color, from entering the juvenile justice system. Google will also give grants to JustLeadershipUSA, Defy Ventures, Code for America, and more.

While platforms such as Facebook Live and other livestreaming applications have paved the way for broadcasting the some police officers's appalling treatment of civilians, most concerningly those of color, there's still no firm ecosystem to keep a cache of all filmed incidents. Steele said that a big focus of the grants was the apparent lack of national data for police behavior and criminal sentencing, an area Google engineers were most disappointed with.

Google believes that all 10 organizations it'll provide with funds can affect and incite change around the bias deeply rooted in the country's criminal justice system.

Finally, Steele said that a person's racial background shouldn't pave the way for the justice system's mistreatment of them, or the mishandling of their cases. He says that Google is proud to support the organizations, and it's hoping that their focus on data and community-driven solutions will be tantamount to a more just society.

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