Data & Democracy for 2018

A Southeast Meeting of Progressive Activists + Technologists

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. Durham, NC.

★ To connect & to strategize ★
★ To defend voting rights ★
★ To GOTV in 2018 ★


Anita Earls
Keynote Address
Anita Earls is the executive director of the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the plaintiffs' attorney in Covington v. North Carolina, in which two federal courts have ruled the state's legislative district maps to be unconstitutional racial gerrymanders. She is a civil rights attorney with nearly 30 years of experience and previously served as Director of Advocacy at the UNC Center for Civil Rights and as Director of the Voting Rights Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. She was a Deputy Asst. Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice in the Clinton administration.
Will Cubbison
Panelist: Targeting GOTV
Will Cubbison is a political scientist, a past campaign manager and consultant, and Research Manager at the Analyst Institute, where his research focuses on candidate emergence and the role of party elites and institutions, with a special focus on the lack of women and minorities in elected office.
Gloria De Los Santos
Panelist: Targeting GOTV
Gloria De Los Santos is the Durham Director and Campaign Director for Gender Equality at Action NC. Previously she was a community organizer with ACORN in both North and South Carolina, where she worked on local, state and national campaigns. At Action NC Gloria has worked on leadership development, community organizing, and building coalitions, but her main focus is gender equality. She has led campaigns including Women Voting our Values and Stand with Women and Families, building local and state coalitions around paid family leave that are influencing governmental policies.
Robert Holder
Panelist: Situational Awareness
Robert Holder is a data scientist at the artificial intelligence and data science firm, Miner & Kasch, having previously served for fourteen years as a senior computer scientist at The Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, where he researched artificial intelligence techniques.
Neeta Lind
Panelist: Coalition-Building
Neeta Lind is the Director of Community at Daily Kos. She is responsible for developing projects to maximize the political effectiveness of the site's most valuable resource, the Daily Kos Community. She promotes the participation of Daily Kos users by creating and supervising various communities and community activities in order to build their political engagement and participation on and offline. Neeta is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation. In 2010, Neeta's blogging on American Indian topics caught the attention of Keith Olbermann, who focused two segments of "Countdown" on the winter ice storm disaster in South Dakota that devastated the Lakota Reservations. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were raised to help the affected tribes as a result.
Elaine McVey
Panelist: Situational Awareness
Elaine McVey is a data scientist and member of the board of Insightus. She leads the data science team at the Durham-based transit technology company TransLoc, working to make public transit the best it can be. Previously she worked in the medical technology industry, using data to improve medical devices and help people more easily manage chronic conditions. In her spare time she contributes her analytical skills to Insightus and co-organizes the local R–Ladies meetup group for female data scientists. Elaine has a masters degree in statistics from NC State University.
Denise Oliver-Velez
Panelist: Coalition-Building
Denise Oliver-Velez is a Contributing Editor at Daily Kos and an adjunct professor of anthropology and women’s studies at SUNY New Paltz. She is a political activist and community organizer, served in the civil rights, women's rights and AIDS activism movements, and was a member of both the Young Lords Party and the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She was a co-founder and program director of Pacifica's first minority-controlled radio station, WPFW-FM, and was the executive director of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.
Chris Reeves
Panelist: Targeting GOTV
Chris Reeves is a technology consultant and a political junky. He is a member of the Democratic National Committee, representing his home state of Kansas, and served as a DNC 2016 convention Rules Committee member and as an executive member of the Kansas Democratic Party. In 2016 he was moderator of the Netroots Nation panel, Local Stepping Stones: Electing People of Color, LGBT Leaders and Progressive Women at the State and Local Levels. He is the father of a special needs child and an advocate for autism awareness.
Noam Ross
Panelist: Situational Awareness
Noam Ross builds computer models to predict and simulate disease outbreaks at EcoHealth Alliance, a New York-based NGO focused on emerging infectious diseases and wildlife conservation, where he also leads data science training and standards. Noam is an Editor at rOpenSci, an initiative enabling reproducible science by building tools connecting researchers to databases and fostering a global community of practice. In his spare time Noam applies his skills to voting rights causes as a volunteer with Insightus. He holds a Ph.D. in mathematical ecology from the University of California, Davis.
Logan Smith
Panelist: Targeting GOTV
Logan Smith is the Communications Director at Progress North Carolina, promoting "public policies that make NC a fairer, healthier, more equitable state." Before that he worked as a political reporter and editor in South Carolina, and managed the successful re-election campaign of Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane. He describes himself as a "communications professional and digital strategist in Raleigh, NC by way of Tennessee and South Carolina [and a] recovering journalist."
William Busa
Panelist: Situational Awareness
William Busa is the founder and president of Insightus, an all-volunteer collaborative of professional technologists engaged in "data-driven activism" with a special focus on North Carolina voting rights. He is a technology consultant and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, with long experience in leading bioinformatics programs.
Amy Cox / Pat Bayer
Case Study Co-Presenters
Amy Cox is an education consultant and co-founder of FLIP NC, an Indivisible group taking targeted, evidence-based action to elect progressives in North Carolina. FLIP NC is building a voter outreach effort and provides strategic analysis and support to progressive groups across the state.
Pat Bayer is a data analyst for FLIP NC and a professor of economics at Duke University, where he served as chair of the economics department from 2009-15. His research interests include racial inequality and segregation, social interactions, discrimination, neighborhood effects, housing markets, education, and criminal justice.
Catherine Daligga / Joe Gillon
Case Study Co-Presenters
Catherine Daligga is a co-chair of the Washtenaw County (MI) Democratic Party's Precinct Organizing Committee, whose success has encouraged the Michigan Democratic Party’s "Project 83," promoting precinct-based engagement throughout the state. Formerly a Lecturer in American Culture and in History at the University of Michigan and a union organizer for non-tenure-track faculty at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, she currently works for Daily Kos on the technology team. She was a delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Joe Gillon is a Washtenaw County (MI) Democratic Party volunteer and a software engineer with forty years experience in networking, imaging, artificial intelligence, web apps, and middle tier architecture for a major governmental health agency.
Jackie Dzau
Case Study Presenter
Jackie Dzau is a co-founder of Our Shot NC, a political action committee providing seed funding to progressive NC legislative candidates. She is a practicing physician at the VA Medical Center and has a background in public health and working with vulnerable populations.
Cordelia Yu
Case Study Presenter
B Cordelia Yu serves as an advisor to, "a volunteer team of technologists, tech enthusiasts, political and community organizers, and activists building progressive change from the ground up." She is a content strategist and independent researcher at the intersection of social justice, civic tech, public policy, and digital design.
Becca Zerkin / Andrea Stein
Case Study Co-Presenters
Becca Zerkin and Andrea Stein are the founders and co-directors of Neighbors on Call, formed to harness and maintain the energy of the incredible volunteers they worked with on the 2016 campaign to effectively advocate for progressive policy and help elect North Carolina Democrats. Andrea is a research assistant in the UNC Department of Psychology, and Becca engineers pop-up books and cards. Both live in Chapel Hill.
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