Maurice talks about black communities as democratic dead zones in which segregation concentrates harm in communities and disappears social problems from dominant populations. Technology can play a role in hacking black democracy, especially with respect to supporting protest and direct action. Social media, for example, provides unedited access to the lived experiences of black people, creates conditions for black communities to show solidarity and organize, and inspires people outside these communities to rethink fundamental beliefs and shift opinions. Power tools cut both ways, however, and technology also serves as a means to shut down protest and organizing.
Maurice Mitchell is the national director of the Working Families Party, and is on the board of directors for the Brooklyn Movement Center. He supports emerging and preexisting organizations and grassroots leaders dedicated to the issues of state violence, anti-black racism, domestic militarism, and the extra-judicial killing of Black people by police and vigilantes.
Most recently, Maurice held a position as the coordinator of the New York State Civic Engagement Table, a hub for progressive, grassroots organizations to collaborate and use technology to win social justice. Maurice previously served as the downstate organizing director for Citizen Action of New York. Maurice also spent seven years at the Long Island Progressive Coalition organizing a number of electoral and issue-based campaigns.
While studying at Howard University he led organizing efforts against police brutality, and divestment from private prisons and founded the local Amnesty International Chapter. Maurice has also been a member of Malcolm X Grassroots Movement’s people’s self-defense campaign and Critical Resistance‘s New York Chapter.
Data & Society’s “Databites” speaker series presents timely conversations about the purpose and power of technology, bridging our interdisciplinary research with broader public conversations about the societal implications of data and automation.