[Virtual Event] Protecting the Black Vote during COVID-19

June 24th, 2020 - 10:00 am to 11:30 am

Online via Zoom Webinar Pacific Time (PDT)

COVID-19 promises to have a significant impact on the 2020 US Presidential Election. This involves a complex web of issues including the communities that have been impacted, how citizens are casting their ballots, and the trust that Americans have in the local, state, and federal government. In this session, Mutale Nkonde discusses her work on “disinformation creep” – or the use of coronavirus disinformation to sow resentment and distrust of government among Black communities, with the aim of reducing Black voter turnout for the general election. Her recent research shows that significant Black Twitter influencers are using these tactics to drive a wedge between Black voters and the Democratic party. This threatens to compound the historical legacy of Black voter suppression, and further disenfranchise the communities of color hardest hit by coronavirus-related deaths. Joining her in conversation are LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund;  Leonard Cortana, PhD candidate at New York University; Charlton McIlwain, Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at the NYU Steinhardt School; and Maria Rodriguez, Assistant Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.


A note on content

We are committed to a robust and free academic discourse. However, this means some topics in this discussion may be uncomfortable or disturbing to some members of the audience. If this is the case for you, we invite you to view parts of the video of the event afterward or join a different event in the future.

Our community standards

Stanford PACS strives to provide rigorous academic discussions and a welcoming environment for all speakers and attendees. Please note that we will not tolerate any individuals who attempt to disrupt the conversation, use inappropriate language, or harass other participants and speakers. We reserve the right to remove any individuals engaging in such behavior from this event.



  • Mutale Nkonde - DCSL Non-Resident Fellow
  • LaTosha Brown - Co-founder of Black Voters Matter Fund
  • Leonard Cortana - PhD candidate at New York University
  • Charlton McIlwain - Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at the NYU Steinhardt School
  • Maria Rodriguez - Assistant Professor at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College

Race, Tech, and Civil Society Event Series

The global pandemic gives new urgency to conversations about race, technology, and civil society. As we depend on digital communications for every aspect of our daily lives, who is left behind? How are technologies being used to surveil communities of color – and how do communities respond to such surveillance? Why is it critical for people impacted by technology to have a voice in how that technology is regulated and employed by governments?

Join us for conversations with scholars, practitioners, activists, and policy experts to explore these issues. Learn more about the rest of the series.