As an entrepreneur, we understand how essential numbers, data, and charts are to our operations. We login to check our sales forecasts for the day, week, or month and review analytics on social media platforms that we use for our brands. In Austin, Texas, an organization headed by a Black entrepreneur takes the data they accumulate and uses it to show city leaders, police chiefs, and other government officials that race relations are a lot worse than what they believe.
Jameila Styles is the Founder of Measure Austin. This non-profit organization uses data as a universal language upon which community members can meet and increase their knowledge about the causes and work together to create equitable change and increased awareness. According to Measure, data is not adequately or collaboratively used in the social justice ecosystem. They work to empower people impacted by data disparities and the accompanying narrative.
“Austin is an optimal environment for activism due to the clear and evident racism that exists here.”Jameila Styles
Jameila founded Measure in 2015 after an Austin Police officer killed unarmed teenager David Joseph. This narrative is widespread, considering police patrol more heavily in areas where minorities make up more than 50% of a neighborhood’s residents. Styles and her team are on a mission to ensure that the police departments in Austin and San Diego have the right performance metrics to back up one fact – it is hard to overlook the need for change when you have the data that shines a light on pervasive racism.
Styles linked up with other community organizations to push the Innocence Initiative, a movement to disrupt the adultification bias of Black girls. Many of you reading this have had this experience at some point in your life. Adultification, defined as a “social or cultural stereotype based on how adults perceive children.” Jameila’s father is a member of the NAACP and was active in the Black Panther movement. It is only right for Styles to continue her family’s legacy and involvement in community activism.
To learn more about Measure and support the Innocence Initiative, visit their website.