The Linux Foundation adds 7 projects to combat racial injustice

The Linux Foundation adds 7 projects to combat racial injustice

Two new projects are being opened up to the wider open source community, five existing projects move from IBM to the Linux Foundation, and 20 other projects are being considered

Credit: Dreamstime

The Linux Foundation is adding seven open source projects aimed at pooling open source software expertise to promote racial justice to its Call for Code initiative.

Call for Code was established in 2018 to bring together technical resources and expertise from partners like David Clark Cause, the Linux Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, IBM, and IBM subsidiary Red Hat to confront big social problems like climate change through a set of global challenges.

In October 2020, Call for Code for Racial Justice was established in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others to focus those same resources on pushing for police and judicial reform, encouraging diverse representation in tech, and promoting broad policy and legislation reform.

That effort led to more than 200 ideas, which have been whittled down to seven projects, all of which will be hosted by the Linux Foundation. “When Call for Code for Racial Justice was established, we wanted to ensure they also became part of the Linux Foundation platform to tap into and get exposure to more of that open source community,” Ruth Davis, director of Call for Code at IBM told InfoWorld.

By leveraging the foundation’s massive global open source community, Call for Code hopes to pool resources, expertise, and diverse perspectives to confront issues contributing towards racial injustice. “When we look at systemic racism, it is not just US-based, so to have all of that perspective from across the open source community makes such a difference here,” Davis said.

Of those seven projects, two are being opened up to the wider community: Fair Change and TakeTwo.

Fair Change is a tool for collating evidence of potentially racially charged incidents to provide greater transparency into potentially biased policing practices. The mobile application is built using React Native, with an API for capturing data from various sources built using Node.js. There is also a website with a geospatial map view of incidents built using Google Maps and React.

TakeTwo aims to help reduce racial bias in online content, by analysing text across news articles, headlines, web pages, blogs, and code and then suggesting more inclusive use of language. IBM has deployed the software to analyse content published on the internal IBM developer portal. Built in Python, the API can run locally using an Apache CouchDB back-end database or IBM Cloudant database.

The Linux Foundation will also host five existing open source projects aimed at promoting racial justice:

  • Five Fifths Voter: A web app that aims to help minorities exercise their right to vote and to limit voter suppression.
  • Legit-Info: A portal for information on local legislation issues.
  • Incident Accuracy Reporting System: A content management platform for witnesses and victims to corroborate evidence or provide additional information from multiple sources to contest official police reports.
  • Open Sentencing: A tool for public defenders to help analyse various data sources to uncover racial bias in sentencing.
  • Truth Loop: An app to help minority communities understand the policies, regulations, and legislation that will affect them the most.

Davis said there are at least 20 more projects being incubated and that Call for Code will prioritise them depending on “potential impact and how we can drive the solutions into communities.” Developers can get involved with Call for Code by joining the Slack channel or signing up for updates from IBM.

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