Current Projects & Community Partners
Updated September, 2014.
Putting Our Stories On the Map Toolkit:
DataCenter is in the final editing stages before design of the Sacred Sites Story Documentation and Mapping Toolkit, which we have titled “Putting Our Stories On the Map” toolkit. The toolkit is intended specifically for native and tribal communities and walks users through a process of blending traditional knowledge and technology for more effective advocacy. As you know, there are many native communities around the United States who struggle constantly to protect their land, cultural resources and sacred sites against development and resource extraction. Other communities that are no longer tied to their land will also be able to use the toolkit to inventory community assets and make cross-cultural connections. This toolkit creates a process for both situations by providing detailed guides on research planning, conducting interviews and creating maps using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS). The toolkit not only features popular education style exercises, it also includes easily replicable templates for important project components like data security protocols. Look for the release of this groundbreaking toolkit fall of 2014.
Adhikkar and DataCenter began working together in 2011 to document conditions facing Nepali-speaking nail salon workers. The project seeks to better understand industry practices and establish nail salon workers as experts in their own right. The research project, like many of DataCenter’s projects, is inclusive and participatory which will allow worker leaders to build skills, work collaboratively, and take ownership of the project. Adhikaar will use the research results to develop policies, programs, trainings, and campaigns to improve the livelihoods and workplace conditions of nail salon workers.
DataCenter joined the ACPHD as a research partner for their health impact assessment (HIA) on bus funding and access in the regional transportation plan. ACPHD set out to examine the effects of bus service cuts for transit dependent populations. DataCenter worked with ACPHD to facilitate community feedback sessions to see which data points were most powerful in making connections between cuts to bus service and health. This partnership ensured that community members had the opportunity to not only review but also to help prioritize data so as to potentially influence how the HIA could impact their daily lives. Read more .
The Campaign Research Toolkit:
The Campaign Research Toolkit will help grassroots organizations understand the nuts and bolts of strategic campaign research. We’re developing and refining user-friendly tools — handout guides, online tools, exercises, case-study discussions, etc. — that make the process of corporate and individual target research more accessible to organizations and their membership. Our library of free Research Justice resources expands with the release of this toolkit in fall of 2014.
The Our Maps Toolkit will be an online resource designed to introduce novice users to the burgeoning field of mapping (Geographic Information Systems, or GIS for the tech nerds out there) – a field that promises to impact the way we visualize, conceptualize, and utilize data. The toolkit, a product of DataCenter’s recent collaboration with MIT’s Center for Civic Media, will orient community-based organizations to the opportunities, tools, and even limitations of community engaged map making.
Historically, mapping technologies have been used in defending indigenous land, mapping health disparities, and revealing the correlation between pollution and the location of poor, low-income communities of color. The Our Maps Toolkit comes at a time when mapping technologies are increasingly accessible to non-specialists.
The toolkit will demystify powerful map making tools so organizers and activists everywhere can better fight for lasting social change. Look for the release of this toolkit early in 2015.
CCHE is a national capacity-building initiative to support diverse, community-based organizations and indigenous groups with proven track records in developing and organizing for effective, culturally competent policy initiatives that address the root causes of childhood obesity at the local level. DataCenter is providing technical assistance to CCHE’s community-based grantees and allied organizations on corporate research and the development of industry-focused campaigns to challenge the marketing of unhealthy foods in low-income communities of color.
Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM):
DRUM is a multigenerational, membership led organization of working class South Asian immigrants in New York City. DRUM has been a leading organization in protecting the civil and human rights of South Asian and Muslim immigrants since September 11, 2001. DRUM builds the power of its members to change policies themselves with a particular focus on building the leadership of undocumented youth and women, to win full civil, human, and economic rights. DataCenter is working with DRUM to conduct a participatory research project that documents, and helps frame the debate around, level of law enforcement harassment, surveillance, intimidation and recruitment in New York City Muslim communities.
Garment Workers Center:
The Garment Worker Center (GWC) is a worker rights organization whose mission is to organize low-wage garment workers in Los Angeles in the fight for social and economic justice. GWC addresses the systemic problems of wage theft, and unhealthy/unsafe working conditions. The GWC has recently partnered with the Data Center and UCLA Labor Center to launch a participatory action research (PAR) project in which GWC members will be trained as researchers. Members will decide the research methodology, such as surveys and focus groups, aimed at documenting relevant and current information on working conditions and the network of industry players. The project goals are to foster a space for shared learning and analysis, leadership development, base-building, and ultimately to assist the GWC in crafting strategic organizing campaigns.
Global Action Project (GAP):
Since 1991, Global Action Project has offered media-arts and leadership programs to young people from low-income communities in New York City. GAP works with young people most affected by injustice to build the knowledge, tools, and relationships needed to create media for community power, cultural expression, and political change. Every year, up to 75 low-income, working-class/working poor youth of color and young immigrants, ages 14-21 develop leadership, artistic expression, critically explore the root causes of the conditions and policies that affect our communities, and collaboratively produce social-issue media.
GAP and DataCenter, with the support of a national advisory board, aim to gather information from youth organizers doing movement building work to find out how they are using media to advance social justice work throughout the United States. This project will measure media use to identify trends, needs, and challenges youth organizers face in integrating media into advocacy and organizing efforts. The results will be shared with organizers, funders, and movement-building allies seeking new knowledge on cross-disciplinary methods and opportunities. The project will capture best practices and how youth are integrating media in new ways. It will also identify barriers and gaps they are facing. The project will take a mixed methods research approach, including a national survey and regional focus groups.
In 2012, resident leaders from the Canal community in Marin, California came together to form Voces del Canal to lead an unprecedented community-driven research project to help achieve their collective vision for social change. Most of the Canal’s residents (58%) live below the Federal Poverty Level and despite this poverty, 92% do not receive public assistance. These numbers are starkly contrasted with the rest of Marin — one of the wealthiest counties in the US.
Residents affirmed their role as authentic, local experts and gave power to the lived experiences of community residents. The Canal Alliance, DataCenter, Dominican University, and a network of community organizations in the Canal joined forces in this project.
DataCenter led a dedicated team of 13 resident leaders in training workshops so the residents could design and implement their own community survey project. Together, they conducted a total of 678 survey interviews documenting the residents’ personal stories, opinions, and visions for a healthier Canal. Complete Report / Informe Completo en Español / Read More
Young Mom’s Marin is an information, resource and advocacy group for young women who are parenting in Marin County. The group provides support for its members around a variety of issues including employment, homelessness, domestic and financial issues. DataCenter is working with YMM to increase the capacity of its members to be able to conduct a needs assessment of young parents in Marin County and to be poised to analyse and use that data to boost their advocacy efforts for programs and services for young parents in Marin County.
Community Partners: 2012-2014
Center for Civic Media, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Desis Rising Up and Moving
Food Chain Worker Alliance
Global Action Project
Jamestown Community Center
Justice for Families
Lideres Campesinas (Coachella Valley & Ventura)
National Domestic Workers Alliance
People Empowered to Win Employment Rights
Parent Organization Network
Planned Parenthood of California
Resource Alliance for Social Justice
School of Unity and Liberation
Transforming Communities Technical Assistance, Training and Resource Center
University of California Irvine Environment Institute
Utah Pride Center Keeping Kids Safe Campaign
Young Moms Marin