Social Justice, Data, and the Light of Truth

Dear Potential Supporter,

In 2010, a Black teenager from New York City named Kalief Browder was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack — a charge he credibly and consistently denied. For three years, including over 700 days of solitary confinement, Browder was held without trial in Rikers Island, the city’s main jail complex. Two years after the charges against him were finally dropped for lack of evidence, Browder, traumatized from his time at Rikers, took his own life. Rikers Island is infamous for its violence, environmental hazards, and human rights abuses. QSIDE Institute’s research has led to policy recommendations that would drastically reduce the jail population without jeopardizing public safety. Moreover, we have shown how the city’s opaque data keeping practices hide the degree of racial inequity at Rikers.

I need your support for QSIDE’s work to continue.

Civil rights hero Ida B. Wells said that “the way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” At QSIDE Institute, we are pioneers in using data science as a form of that light of truth. Our innovative research-to-action efforts have addressed previously unknown injustices and inequities not just in jails, but in art museums, courtrooms, police departments, college campuses, and much more.

I’ll be honest with you: while the demand for our work from the public, from researchers, and from the nonprofit sector has been huge, the financial support from those same communities has not come close to matching. That is why I am asking you to make a substantial financial commitment to support QSIDE. If you want our change-making to continue, please support us by joining as a one-year supporting member for a tax deductible donation of $250 ($100 for students). I could list the many benefits we offer: opportunities for research and action, educational programs, events and workshops, and so much more. Instead, I’ll simply say what’s in my heart: I hope you will donate because whether or not you yourself take advantage of those benefits, your supporting membership will enable us to continue to exist and make change.

Where do your dollars go? QSIDE has no salaried employees. Administration of the institute is done on a voluntary basis. We are a lean nonprofit organization that puts our money into projects and programs that involve minoritized scholars and activists and that promote justice in the world.

QSIDE’s work has been covered in the Atlantic, the Guardian, People Magazine, Science, Smithsonian Magazine, and more. We’ve conducted scores of research studies and translated our findings into activist efforts and community partnerships. Please be a part of this work by joining as a supporting member. You can also support QSIDE by forwarding this note to others in your network and encouraging them to join.

In partnership,


Chad Topaz
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Research
Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity