Yeshimabeit Milner (2021)

Founder, Data4Black Lives (D4BL)


Yeshimabeit Milner was raised by an immigrant mother in predominately Black neighborhoods in Miami and experienced systematic racism throughout her childhood. After witnessing a principal put a 14-year-old into a chokehold, Milner and several friends organized a peaceful protest. In response, SWAT units swept through the crowd and beat more than 30 students. That event sparked Milner to dedicate her life to researching statistics about Black lives, beginning with the suspension statistics for Black children in her community. She found Black children were four times more likely than white children to be suspended.

At 22, Milner returned to Miami from Brown University and started collecting data about infant mortality rates. Her goal was to help improve healthcare at local hospitals. In 2017, Milner took her passion for data science and social activism one step further and founded D4BL. D4BL seeks to compile data that states and universities do not collect, such as COVID infection rates in marginalized communities across the United States. Milner also uses her platform to host conferences around the country, including places like the MIT Media Lab, to further spread her message and data. Her overarching goal is to use her findings to permanently change the conversation around data and technology access for the benefit of Black lives.

Joined by co-founder Lucas Mason-Brown and three other executive team members at D4BL, Milner looks to expose issues of systemic racism by using concrete data from areas like statistical modeling and data visualization to advocate for Black people addressing the historic and current ways data has been used to discriminate. Some recent examples of the latter include predatory lending, risk-based sentencing and predictive policing. D4BL has raised over $2 million for various projects and organizations and it connects a growing team of more than 4,000 members across the country.

Acceptance Speech

Award Announcement

Read the New Frontier Award® announcement