The fight for racial justice just got an infusion of cash from Google.
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The Web giant's philanthropic arm, Google.org, has already committed more than $5 million to nonprofits advancing racial justice since 2015, but this week it more than doubled its previous pledge. Google.org is investing $11.5 million in new grants to organizations working to reform the criminal justice system.
The funds will go to 10 organizations Google.org believes "can create meaningful change around racial, social, and criminal justice in the US," Google.org Principal Justin Steele wrote in a Thursday blog post.
"Mass incarceration is a huge issue in the United States, and a major area of focus for our grants," Steele wrote. "The US penal population has exploded, growing by 400 percent since 1984 to more than 2 million today, with Black men sentenced at over five times the rate of white men."
The largest sum, $5 million, will go to the Center for Policing Equity, a New York-based organization working with police agencies and communities to create a database to track national statistics on police behavior. Meanwhile, a $1.5 million grant will go to Measures for Justice, which is building a web platform that lets people see how their local justice system treats people based on different factors, such as race, sex, status, and age.
Google.org is also giving $1 million to support Impact Justice's national Restorative Justice Project, which aims to keep youth of color out of the juvenile justice system. Other new organizations getting funding are working to train formerly incarcerated individuals (JustLeadershipUSA) and make data more accessible to criminal justice reform organizations (W. Haywood Burns Institute).
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"A person's race should not determine how they are treated by the law," Steele wrote. "We're proud to support these organizations, and we hope that their focus on data and community-driven solutions to will bring us closer to a more just society."
Google has also sponsored community screenings of the Netflix documentary 13th in 12 Google offices across the country; Netflix has announced it will also allow the film to be screened for educational purposes. 13th, from Selma director Ava DuVernay, is up for Best Documentary at this weekend's Academy Awards