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Yeshimabeit Milner, Co-founder of Data 4 Black Lives

[We were seeing] That technology was influencing our lives in ways we had no control over, no accountability. This is a process that we now call datafication - whether it's Equifax and FICO credit scores that determine whether or not you qualify for housing, or risk assessments and facial recognition, or Facebook newsfeeds that continue to threaten our democracy. I was seeing the threats and also the opportunity to use technology to understand deep structural issues like systemic racism. The issues already existed of course - but technology was making them more obvious, scary, and urgent. I knew that before we change the algorithms, before we change where the data is coming from, we have to change the people who are in charge of all this. That's where the idea for Data 4 Black Lives came from. We launched the organization with a conference that sold out within a few days. That’s when I knew that we were tapping into something powerful and we should keep going. 

Read the full interview here.

Data for Black Lives is a group of activists, organizers, and mathematicians committed to the mission of using data science to create concrete and measurable change in the lives of Black people.

They seek to mobilize scientists around racial justice issues. At our conference in November, we will convene over two hundred data scientists, computer programmers, racial justice activists, and elected officials to discuss the role that data can and should play in Black communities.

The Unknown Fund. “Anonymous” (yes, that group) is going to invest and donate $75 million of bitcoin in startups that help create anonymity ideas. Applications are up!

Free Money for Social Enterprises. Techcrunch released a long list of institutions that are supporting for-profit social enterprises with cash and community support, and in many cases without dilution.

Tech Jobs for Good helps mission-driven companies hire the best tech talent in the United States. Every Friday, we’ll highlight a few amazing recent opportunities.

For more, check out their site here. If your company’s looking to post a job and reach purpose-driven and passionate people, please reach out.

Monday: The Nobel Prize winning duo, Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee, published an essay on How Poverty Ends, arguing the importance of economies shifting away from a unilateral focus on GDP and towards a broader consideration of quality of life. Plus, the real meat industry has been waging war against the fake meat industry by wrongfully calling the products “ultra-processed imitations.”

Tuesday: Check out the key takeaways from the first week at COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference, and the resulting protests; we’ll provide coverage on the outcomes from week two next week. Also, India is on the verge of passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill, providing a path to naturalization for immigrants of all religions except Muslims.

Wednesday: There are many startups driving a positive social impact in the world — this week, we covered of Velocia, a rewards system for commuters who ditch their car for alternate forms of transportation, and Mona, a chatbot providing refugees with free legal aid. Also, public opinion is having a major impact on the development of AI regulation — we covered facial recognition & law enforcement, social media, and autonomous weapons.

Thursday: Do you need good governance frameworks to allow for innovation, or can innovation drive good governance? This chicken-or-egg question is at the heart of the entrepreneurship scene in Africa. Also, big money is going after big tech — check out the billionaires trying to break up the largest tech companies. Finally, how does photography impact our understanding and perception of climate change? Josh Haner has a perspective.

Tomorrow Today

🎟️ We’re thinking February 6th! We’ll have a sign up link and more details soon.

Change cannot be achieved alone, only together. In that spirit, we are hosting community events at our space in New York City. Eat some food, learn from some seasoned, unconventional activists, and meet others aspiring to change the world!

Why are we hosting this?

For us, community is the center of everything. In an age of prolific digitization, there's a great need for greater human connection. It's almost necessary to carve out time and space to purposefully engage in person. While it's amazing to be able to discuss and interact with multiple people online and exchange stories and insights, we don't think anything beats the experience of sharing a meal.

Igniting Tomorrow

💰 $100k-$250k Pre-Seed Funding

UPDATE: We’ve already had multiple people reach out and share their ideas. It gets us super excited to learn more about the projects and companies everyone is working on. Please keep reaching out. We’ll be releasing more information around this in the upcoming year.

Many of you are either already working on a number of world-changing things or have ideas bursting out of you every day. Our goal is to see unconventional activists like you succeed. Let us help connect you into the space and access the financing you need to get started. If you’d like to share your ideas (or know a friend working on something exciting), please reply to this email!

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