GIS Equity & Social Justice Blog

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(10 Posts)
Esri Community Manager

Announcing the release of the Community Mapping for Racial Equity and Social Justice tutorial collection, designed to equip young mappers with essential ArcGIS skills and focuses on mapping local communities through the lens of Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) workflow.   


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Esri Contributor

The deadline is OCTOBER 30TH to submit presentation abstracts to the Equity & Social Justice Track for Esri UC 2021!

Don't miss this opportunity to share your stories of advancing #racialequity and #socialjustice with your peers from the global #GIS user community.

Submit abstracts at this link by October 20th to be considered for UC 2021: Call for Presentations | Esri User Conference 

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Esri Contributor

On July 16th, 2020, over 1,100 people gathered to hear how 3 organizations from the government & nonprofit sectors approach racial equity and social justice work and the role that GIS plays in advancing each of their missions. Attendees heard from Deirdre Johnson Burel and Amanda Otter (Otter:Create) representing the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Julian Ware & Jacque Larrainzar representing the City of Oakland, and Rae Johnson, Zachary Swingen, and Dr. Ben Weston representing Milwaukee County.


Deirdre and Amanda shared how racial equity is not just something the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funds— but rather how it is part of their DNA. They shared their focus on systems transformation and racial healing to achieve racial equity, their holistic approach to racial equity, and the importance of community engagement and making long-term, generational commitments to the communities they work within. Julian & Jacque shared the City of Oakland‘s long history of activism and their commitment to “reshaping the narrative” by making sure community voices are represented in day to day city operations & planning. They defined terms such as institutional and structural racism, and described how GIS is inherent in their analysis and equitable decision making processes across all departments of city government. Finally, Rae, Zac, and Ben outlined Milwaukee County‘s journey toward achieving racial equity, from declaring racism a public health crisis in 2019, to rolling out racial equity training to every county employee, to putting their commitment to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic once it became clear that the county’s Black and Latinx residents were disproportionately affected. They stressed the role of geography in their ability to understand who was affected, where they lived, communicate information to the public, and most importantly, to deploy resources to better support community members.

This is one of two equity-focused SIGs at UC2020. The other one will be uploaded shortly. 

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Esri Contributor

A redlining layer of 143 cities is now available in ArcGIS Living Atlas and in the Racial Equity GIS Hub. This ready-to-use layer can provide important context for your work. GIS-ready historical redlining data is an important tool to help us understand how historical inequities still contribute to inequities today. 

Read this blog post by my colleague Diana Lavery‌ to learn more about how many present-day racial inequities can be traced back directly to the federal practice of redlining neighborhoods in the 1930s, and how you can use this historical data layer in your work to advance equity and social justice in your community today. In the blog, she references examples of how Jaimie Huynh‌ and Christen Watts‌ have used this data in their work examining the historical legacy of redlining in Stockton, CA, and Asheville, NC.

In order to dismantle systemic racism and advance equity and social justice, we must understand its historical roots. This layer can help users in government, economic development, city planning, law enforcement, financial services, retailers, real estate developers, healthcare providers, researchers, community organizations, schools, and many others understand historical roots of present-day inequities in their communities and invest where the needs are greatest.

In the comments, please share any questions or ideas you have on how you might use this data in your work.

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Esri Contributor

In many ways, geography has become a tool for gaining a greater understanding of inequities, but it has also been the means to draw boundaries that keep communities segregated. Specifically, there is a long history of place-based social exclusion manifested in redlining practices, creating patterns in cities that continue today. The charge now is to address racial disparities and the underlying inequities that cause them. Like many businesses, Esri recognizes that this moment provides an opportunity to impact progress directly. Esri’s new racial equity team supports the application of GIS to address racism and social inequities.

"Esri employees and I want to express our support for the Black community during these difficult times and reinforce our commitment to help our users in their efforts to use GIS to bring about positive change. This is clearly a time when we as GIS professionals can use our special talents and tools to help communities better understand, communicate, and be engaged – all necessary for meaningful action." - Jack Dangermond, Esri CEO

Esri's Racial Equity site is now live: Racial Equity | GIS Tools to Address Racial Inequities. This new website tells the story of how location intelligence can be used to address racial inequities by Engaging Communities, Mapping and Analyzing Inequities, Operationalizing Best Practices, Managing Performance, and more.

There, you’ll also find the new Racial Equity GIS Hub with links to data layers, user examples, training, solutions, and other resources to help in your work towards racial justice. This will be updated regularly so check back often for new resources and content.

On the Hub you will also find additional resources to build skills and get started such as Learn Lessons focused around key racial equity workflows. 

You can also find guidance on best practices as well as inspiring stories about organizations in the U.S. and around the world who are using location intelligence to advance racial equity & social justice in their communities. 

Many of you in this space have already been leveraging GIS to address racial equities in your communities, and the weight and importance of this work is not new to you. We encourage you to continue to share your successes and challenges here, and take advantage of this new and continually-evolving Racial Equity GIS Resource Hub to enable and enhance your work. 

Finally, remember to check back often for updates as new data, trainings, stories, apps, maps, and solutions will be added regularly!


Margot & Clinton

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Esri Contributor

Hi all, 

You may have seen the recent email from Esri's Founder and President Jack Dangermond (a copy is posted below, and you can also find the social media posts on Linked In and Twitter). In response to the senseless and horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and too many others, Esri expresses our solidarity with the Black community as well as our commitment to mobilize to bring the full power of GIS technology to bear in the fight against racial injustice. Clinton Johnson‌ will be leading the effort at Esri, supported by a diverse "team of teams" (myself included), centered around the perspectives of our Black employees, users, and community partners.

Organizations around the world and especially in the United States are increasing their efforts to eliminate long-persisting racial inequities. Esri is here to help. We know these are complex, challenging, and multi-dimensional issue, and there is no quick fix -- but we know place and location are critical components of better-informed decision-making. Therefore, Esri is ramping up to deliver new and impactful resources to empower organizations to understand, plan, and take action. The goal is to enable our users by aligning technology configurations, solutions, and resources to help our customers, across all sectors, to solve one of the toughest challenges we face in the US and abroad.

Efforts are just beginning, but stay tuned for more information shortly on the release of what will be a new GIS resource Hub for Racial Equity (similar to the COVID-19 GIS Resource Hub you may have seen) with maps, data, and information to help individuals, organizations, and communities address racial inequities. We are committed to engaging folks on the ground doing this work, like yourselves, and community partners in this effort. If you have any feedback, ideas, suggestions, or questions around this initiative please don't hesitate to provide feedback to Clinton or myself in the thread below.

In solidarity,

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by Anonymous User
Not applicable

The Grand Canyon Trust has been working on a storymap presenting firsthand stories from the "people whose cultures, worldviews, and livelihoods are inextricably tied to the Grand Canyon region".   On July 17 Storymaps LIVE featured storytellers will be Stephany Smith and Ellen Heyn from the Trust, sharing their approaches and methods for their great work on a new storymap "The Voices of the Grand Canyon".  Storymaps LIVE is also your chance to learn about the latest Storymaps enhancements and ask questions live to the Esri Storymaps team.     Register Here

Overview article from Katherine Locke about the Grand Canyon "Intertribal Centennial Conversations g...:

..."Riggs said during the park's centennial celebrations, there was a focus on John Wesley Powell, the Kolb Brothers and others who were important to the ‘discovery’ of the park for tourism, but there was not very much acknowledgement of the Native history of the Grand Canyon....“It goes beyond 11 tribes,” Riggs said. “Tribes from California, Nevada, Colorado, everybody has some sort of connection to this place". ..."

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Esri Contributor

Registration is now open for a new session of the King County GIS workshop Introduction to GIS for Equity & Social Justice, on Wednesday, June 17, from 8:00am-12:30pm (Pacific Time) 11:00am-3:30pm (Eastern Time)

This class will be presented live, via Zoom (credentials to be emailed to registered attendees in advance). Register today: GIS for Equity and Social Justice - June 17, 2020 Tickets, Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite 

"This workshop will serve as an introduction to recent trends and practices related to using GIS for equity and social justice (ESJ). We will explore critical race theory (CRT) and trends in critical race spatial analysis. We will review recent literature and academic programs around the topic of GIS for ESJ. Most importantly we will outline best practices for GIS professionals in doing GIS for ESJ work. This includes creating a data/mapping/application support framework both for their own work and to support the work of non-GIS professionals.

This session of the workshop also includes new material being developed for a new GIS for Equity and Social Justice Best Practices document being developed for the Geographic Information Science and Technology Body of Knowledge."

Please reach out to Gregory Babinski‌ with any questions.

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Esri Contributor

Don't forget to submit your maps to the Equity & Social Justice group in the map gallery! You can do so here. This is the first time we have had this group at the User Conference and we would love to see all of your important and impactful work included! Note: the deadline to do so is June 5th now June 12th!

See you there! 

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Esri Contributor

It has been 40 years since our first User Conference was held in Redlands, California, with only a handful of participants. While initially no one was quite sure of what the outcome would be, the event started an ongoing tradition where Esri and our users would come together, share our work, learn and create a community of common interests.

This year, Esri has made the decision to move the 2020 Esri User Conference in San Diego to a virtual format. The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has thrust our community into unknown territory impacting both our health and economy. But we are all in this together, and if we continue to work together, we will weather this storm. 

Join us virtually July 13-15 for a packed program including a live Plenary, inspiring keynotes, interactive virtual sessions with Esri staff, a digital map gallery and a first look at the future of the ArcGIS platform. Registration to the 2020 virtual UC is complimentary for all Esri customers who are current on their maintenance or subscription. 

This means the UC this year will be more accessible than ever:

  • All current students and 2020 grads have full free access to UC, whether or not their school has a site license current on maintenance. This applies to both K-12 and higher education institutions.
  • Any person who works at an organization that is current on ArcGIS maintenance or subscription will have access to the full UC (not just people who have licenses at that organization). 
  • The plenary session is completely open to the public.

Register online at 2020 Esri User Conference: July 13–15 | Join Us Virtually

Clinton and I would love to see members of this community represented in the audience.This year, there will be a variety of activities & presentations around GIS for Equity & Social Justice. Stay tuned for updates coming soon! In the meantime, we encourage everyone in this group to submit any maps related to Equity & Social Justice to the virtual Map Gallery. 

See you all soon!

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