Identifying and Countering Racial and Economic Bias in Digital Civic Engagement Tools

Venita Griffin
People in Project

Venita Griffin
2021 CCSRE Race & Technology Practitioner Fellow

Contact: Twitter: @venitagriffin

Project Description:

Venita Griffin possesses 15+ years of experience leading successful advocacy, digital, and multicultural campaigns. She currently serves as the digital director for a national nonprofit that trains and supports Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) community organizers, elected officials, and advocates. 

In addition to the duties of her full-time role, Venita worked to organize millions of women of color voters during the 2020 election cycle, mobilized millions of low-income workers to call for passage of the HEROES Act, worked to organize displaced restaurant workers in Pennsylvania, California, and Michigan to secure benefits from their employers, provided digital support in an attempt to defeat the passage of Amendment One in her home state of Louisiana, and served as the lead digital consultant on a national COVID relief project which, among other victories, worked to win a mask mandate in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

She is the founding social media manager of the newly launched Blue Tent, a media outlet that reports on the progressive movement, and is the founder of a professional network for Black and Brown digital organizers.

Venita’s past experience also includes leading the digital strategy for Legalize Illinois, providing strategic counsel and digital strategy oversight for a national campaign focused on raising awareness around metastatic breast cancer, and working on the team that secured a raise for direct support professionals in a year when similar services were being cut from the Illinois budget. 

Venita’s work has been honored with awards from the Association of National Advertisers (Multicultural Excellence Awards), the Association of Women in Communications, the Communicator Awards, and the Publicity Club of Chicago.

She was a Winter 2020 Fellow of The Movement School, and a 2019 Fellow of the Chicago Foundation for Women Willie’s Warriors Leadership Initiative, which helps black women leaders from a variety of sectors develop community organizing skills, with a focus on systems change, economic empowerment, communications, and strategic alliances. Venita is also a member of the foundation’s South Side Giving Circle, which mobilizes women on Chicago’s South Side and in the South Suburbs to invest in the economic, social and political power of black women and girls in Chicago, as well as a co-chair of the foundation's Women of Color United Giving Council.

A New Orleans native, Venita lives in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications.

What is your research focus?

Identifying and countering racial and economic bias in digital civic engagement tools and tactics.

How do you plan to change the world?

I want to impact change by arming organizers and organizations with the information they need to conquer emerging technology.

What is an interesting fact about yourself?

I'm a diehard New Orleans Saints fan.