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    Posts Tagged ‘Combating Racism as a Public Health Crisis’

    A First for Black Media: Black Voice News Leverages Web 3 and Blockchain Technology to Combat Racism in California

    Combating Racism as a Public Health Crisis platform leverages web recorder screen capture technology to centralize California declarations as a resource and accountability tool

    RIVERSIDE, Calif. – In response to the murder of George Floyd, many government agencies and leaders across California declared racism a “public health crisis.”

    While the declarations are a starting point, Mapping Black California, a project of Black Voice News and the first Black newspaper to build and report on a Web3-based project, wants to see these promises put to work.

    “These resolutions are an important first step to advancing racial equity and justice and must be followed by allocation of resources and strategic action,” Mapping Black California Project Manager, Alex Reed, contends.

    The team found their answer in phases with the first being to track any public records and public statements made by elected officials regarding the declarations. The second phase, supported by a fellowship from Stanford University’s Starling Lab for Data Integrity, provided funding to integrate Web3 authentication technology to track, verify, and report on the progress of the commitments outlined in those declarations. The culmination – a fully integrated, content-aggregated platform developed by ESRI to track and centralize declarations in California.

    “It’s not just about keeping up with new technologies, it’s also about ensuring Black communities aren’t being influenced by misinformation or disinformation campaigns,” explained Black Voice News publisher and Mapping Black California founder Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds.

    Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds

    Dr. Paulette Brown-Hinds

    Using the platform’s analysis of more than 40 declarations made by local and state jurisdictions across the state, Black Voice News health equity reporter Breanna Reeves wrote a four-part series analyzing how four different regions across California – specifically the city of Oakland, the city of Santa Cruz, and Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties – carried out public health crisis declarations made in 2020, examining them against criteria from the American Public Health Association.

    The aim is to hold local governments accountable to the promises outlined in their respective declarations by encapsulating their resolutions in an authenticated archive that cannot be deleted or modified.

    “Such technology and tools are not only essential for holding those in power accountable for their promises,” Reeves states, “but are also great tools for journalists like myself to use to verify documents I receive for reporting, or webpages I link to. Unlike a screenshot or a link to a Tweet, using web recorder technology ensures that such information cannot be tampered with and has been authenticated.”

    By preserving over 350 web pages from government sites and public platforms, Combating Racism displays data to track these commitments and help investigators hold leaders and organizations accountable for pledges made to take action against systemic inequality.

    “Even in the first few months of building the project, several of these pages on the live web had disappeared before they could be preserved.”

    “As a journalist, it’s dismaying to see so many news organizations close and with them, their archives,” noted Ann Grimes, director of journalism fellowships at Starling Lab. “The problem extends to social media – where tweets often disappear or are deleted. Embeds from social media can be taken down at any time, as they are hosted by the website or company that originally published them.”

    “Creating a centralized digital ledger registered on a blockchain to preserve the declarations and corresponding materials related to them is a comprehensive resource for concerned community members to determine a particular jurisdiction’s declaration status, assess their progress, and identify a particular jurisdiction’s equity contact (if assigned),” Grimes explained.

    “Providing California residents with easily accessible data and additional resources empowers them not just to ask, “Now What?”, but more importantly, “What have you done? What’s next?”

    According to Mapping Black California Project Director, Candice Mays, “As the tools used to inflict racism upon our communities continue to evolve, we must not just evolve with them, but ahead of them and our Combating Racism platform is an exercise in that evolution.”

    To explore the platform and read the Black Voice News series, visit: combatingracism.com

    To learn more about Black Voice News’ data journalism unit, Mapping Black California, visit:mappingblackca.com


    For media inquiries, please contact:

    Candice Mays

    Project Director

    Mapping Black California

    Phone: (951) 682-6070

    Email: candice@voicemediaventures.com