A Toolkit for Centering Racial Equity Throughout Data Integration

Data sharing and data integration to inform decision making is now commonplace, and occurs at every level—local, state, and federal. While most data sharing and integration occurs within a legal and governance framework, an emphasis on racial equity, transparency, and community engagement is often peripheral. This is especially troubling because government policies and programs that produce administrative data have often played a direct role in creating, enabling, and sustaining institutional and structural racism.

This body of work seeks to encourage shifts of awareness and practice, by centering racial equity
and community voice within the context of data integration and use. Our vision is one of ethical
data use with a racial equity lens, that supports power sharing and building across agencies and
community members.

his toolkit is designed to help guide partnerships, collaboratives, agencies, and community
initiatives seeking to center racial equity while using, sharing, and integrating administrative
data. Not sure what we mean by using, sharing, and integrating administrative data? Take
some time to review our Introduction to Data Sharing & Integration,10 which covers key terms,
concepts, and first steps.

Who Should Use This Toolkit
We believe that all voices are needed in conversations about racial equity and data use, and the
information presented here can be used by anyone. This toolkit and activities are specifically
structured to support users of administrative data for civic purposes (see Appendix III) in their
efforts to center racial equity. These users could include:

  • Members of institutions: university-based researchers; government-agency administrators and analysts; foundation staff

  • Community advocates and members: community and religious leaders; civic and neighborhood association members; students and parents/caregivers

  • Bridges between community and organizations: service providers, social workers, case workers; staff of local backbone organizations; independent applied researchers

Many types of civic data use are relevant to this toolkit, including:

  • Open data (data that can be shared without legal agreements in place)
  • Protected administrative data (confidential data that can be shared only with sufficient security provisions in place, including data sharing agreements)
  • Dashboards (administrative data aggregated to topic/indicator/subgroup/population)
  • Integrated data systems (systems that regularly link administrative data across government agencies to improve programs and practices through evidence-based collaboration)
  • Neighborhood indicators (data aggregated to place)
  • Research, evaluation, and outcome measurement using administrative data
  • Tools created by using administrative data, such as risk indicator scores