A Conversation on Racial Equity and Technology

New America

Wednesday, August 5, 2020 - 10:00pm to 11:30pm

As Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development, Dr. McIlwain leads New York University's Public Interest Technology Alliance, a multidisciplinary a group of faculty with expertise in responsible and ethical creation, use and governance of technology in society. The Internet increasingly mediates most aspects of our everyday lives - from commerce, work, education, healthcare, banking, housing and many others. But how might the Internet, once heralded as a beacon of democracy, facilitate and exacerbate existing racial inequalities by foreclosing opportunities for the public, particularly people and communities of color to take full advantage of what the Internet affords? Dr. McIlwain will focus on demonstrating the varied frameworks to investigate how the Internet - from search engines and other recommendation systems to social media platforms - discriminate and why we should be concerned.

Dr. Claibourn is the Director of Research Data Services and the Social, Natural, and Engineering Sciences at the University of Virginia Library and Co-Director of the Commas Lab where she works with community organizations to address data-driven research needs and leads the Public Interest Data Lab intended to provide data science experience to students in service of the public interest. An Equity Atlas serves as a data and policy tool for leaders and advocates to advance a more equitable community while helping citizens hold decision-makers accountable. The Charlottesville Regional Equity Atlas is a collaboration between local government, nonprofit agencies, and community members in the region and researchers across disciplines and centers within the university to imagine and co-create an open-source platform to combine, visualize, and make accessible data about racial and other disparities. Dr. Claibourn will highlight the work of forging relationships of trust with key community partners and how that's shaped their prototype atlas, as well as next steps to make the data infrastructure more deeply rooted in the needs of marginalized communities.

The conversation will be moderated by Saif Y Ishoof, Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University. Saif guides the university’s participation with K-12 partners, economic development agencies, industry partners and social enterprises.


  • Dr. Charlton McIlwain, New York University
  • Dr. Michele Claibourn, University of Virginia


  • Saif Y. Ishoof, Florida International University