Elections in the United States continue to face threats from false and misleading narratives, conspiracy theories, misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation.
This event featured insights from national and local experts on the history of information disorder and its effects on political discourse.
Speakers are Shireen Mitchell, founder of Stop Online Violence Against Women, Inc. and Jennifer Slavik Lohman, director of the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition (PowerPoint).
Gena Gunn McClendon, director of Voter Access and Engagement in the Center for Social Development and Vicki C. Washington, St. Louis Area Voting Initiative, moderated the discussion.
September 7, 2022
12:00–1:30 PM (CST)
Shireen Mitchell is an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder/senior strategist at Stop Online Violence Against Women (SOVAW) — a leading research organization based in Washington, DC (and parent to the Stop Digital Voter Suppression project). A member of the independent Facebook Oversight Board, Mitchell also founded the organization Digital Sisters/as. DigitalSisters/as is the first organization to specifically focus on women and girls of color in technology and digital media. Mitchell continues to work at the forefront of addressing the role that technology companies play in the discrimination and abuse of women and girls of color. Further driving this mission, she co-founded Human First Tech — a project cultivating technologies that cater to the needs of the community. In 2022, Shireen was selected by Coalition Against Online Violence to be a member of their Advisory Committee and Platforms Advocacy Working Group. Mitchell can be reached @digitalsista on Twitter.
Jennifer Slavik Lohman is the Director of the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition; Chair of the Anti-Disinformation Committee for the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition; and a member of the national Election Protection Anti-Disinformation Working Group. Jennifer is Regional Coordinator for the MOVPC’s Election Protection Field Program, as well as a member of the Transformative Justice Coalition’s Voting Rights Alliance, and the League of Women Voters.
Jennifer graduated from Notre Dame Law School and worked as a litigator and federal judicial clerk before turning to voter advocacy work. She lives in St. Louis with her husband Don and two of their three (nearly all) grown children.
Gena Gunn McClendon, PhD, is Director of the Voter Access and Engagement initiative and Co-Director of the Financial Capability and Asset Building initiative at the Center for Social Development. Her work primarily involves policy research analysis and consultation with community-based programs, academic institutions, state and federal policymakers, and advocacy groups. Dr. McClendon’s program development and policy work focuses on issues related to voter suppression and civic participation of low- and moderate-income households and marginalized populations. Through her research, she works to identify and advance practice and policy strategies that support an inclusive democracy and the professional training of social work students. She co-leads the Financial Capability and Asset Building initiative, which focuses on the development and research of a postsecondary curriculum in financial social work.
Vicki C. Washington After spending most of her career in the fields of equity, diversity, inclusion, and civil rights in health care, local government, and in higher education administration, Vicki C. Washington, JD, retired from the position of Associate Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at the University of Wisconsin System in August 2016, a position she’d held from 2005. While at UW System, Vicki’s portfolio included systemwide programs relating to inclusive excellence, equity, diversity & inclusion, LGBTQ, multicultural/disadvantage student success and precollege programs, and the administration of several systemwide award programs. After retiring and relocating to St. Louis at the end of January 2017, Vicki focused her efforts on voter registration, engagement, and participation. She helped convene a small group of people interested in impacting voter participation and engagement among the black community in the St. Louis metro area that eventually became the St. Louis Area Voting Initiative (SLAVI). Its primary focus is voter education designed to increase voter registration and engagement in the black communities across the St. Louis metro area. SLAVI’s members include voting rights advocates, post-secondary educators, and community organizers affiliated with a variety of organizations, including the NAACP – St. Louis County Chapter, the Metropolitan Congregations United and closely collaborates with the Voter Access and Engagement initiative at Washington University and the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition. Vicki is a member of the board for the Mildred Thimes Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer, the St. Louis Chapter of Girl Friends, Inc., the St. Louis Chapter of Smart Set, and the St. Louis County Chapter of the NAACP. She is a graduate of Spelman College, North Carolina Central’s School of Law, and completed the Harvard Institute for Management and Leadership in Education. Vicki has an adult son.
Voting, Misinformation, Disinformation, and Manipulation is sponsored by the Center for Social Development; the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition; In Every Generation; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Gamma Omega Chapter; the St. Louis Area Voting Initiative; the St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition; Grand Challenges for Social Work; and Voting Is Social Work.
The Missouri Voter Protection Coalition (MOVPC) is a nonpartisan statewide network of advocates who work to protect the right to vote in Missouri.
In Every Generation (IEG) provides the training materials and strategies to enable nonprofits and churches to implement effective voter registration and engagement programs right away. In partnership with these community organizations, IEG also tailors programs to meet the specific needs of a given community and help engage those voters on the importance of voting the whole ballot in every election. Engagement can also expand to offering information about serving on boards and commissions and opportunities to run for elected office. This engagement will provide the cornerstone for general power-building in currently under-served communities.
For 100 years, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Gamma Omega Chapter, has transcended time in the Metropolitan St. Louis community by enriching lives through scholarship, community betterment, and sisterhood. The original Chapter goals were to: (1) Vitalize the ideals of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., (2) foster civic and educational movements, and (3) encourage young women to attain a college education. The Chapter has maintained these timeless goals with adaptability, resourcefulness, and updated objectives to improve and expand programs to enhance and augment the community through “Service to All Mankind.”
The St. Louis Area Voting Initiative (SLAVI) envisions Black communities in the St. Louis area that are informed, energized, empowered, motivated, and committed to sustained civic engagement.
The St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition (SLVPC) maximizes access to the ballot because a strong democracy depends on a guarantee that all Americans deserve and have the right to vote. Every vote has the power to change the world.
The Grand Challenges for Social Work, the flagship program of the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW), is a groundbreaking initiative to champion social progress powered by science. It’s a call to action for social work researchers and practitioners to harness social work’s science and knowledge base; collaborate with individuals, community-based organizations, and professionals from all fields and disciplines; and work together to tackle some of our most challenging social problems.
Voting Is Social Work, the National Social Work Voter Mobilization Campaign, integrates nonpartisan voter engagement into social work education and practice. The Campaign began in 2016 with the first launch of the VotingIsSocialWork.org website crafted by Influencing Social Policy, the Nancy A Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, and the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy with funding by the Fund for Social Policy Education and Practice. The new website and current leadership team include the Humphreys Institute, the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. Many people are involved in the more significant task force.
Empowering Voting and Democracy
A virtual education series
Empowering Voting and Democracy features insights from leading experts on voting rights and the democratic process. Events in the series will elevate the work of those fighting for democracy and engage the public in the work of expanding equitable access to democratic institutions in the United States.
The series is organized by the Center for Social Development, in collaboration with partners across the United States.
Events in This Series
March 9 & 10, 2022
Social Work Day on the Hill
On March 9, join the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work & Policy for the 2022 Social Work Day on the Hill events, including the launch of the Social Work Democracy Project. Convened annually, Social Work Day on the Hill and Student Advocacy Day offer opportunities to engage policy makers in the nation’s capital. Social Work Day on the Hill is scheduled for March 9, and Student Advocacy Day is scheduled for March 10.
The Center for Social Development is cosponsoring the 2022 Social Work Day on the Hill events, which are organized by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy. Additional cosponsors include the Council on Social Work Education; the Association of Social Work Boards; the Columbia University School of Social Work; the Boston University School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation in Social Work & Health; the University of Washington School of Social Work; the Clark-Fox Policy Institute in the Brown School at Washington University; the Luskin School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles; the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Social Work; the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice; and the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.
March 30, 2022
Barbara Arnwine, Transformative Justice Coalition
Elizabeth Hira, Brennan Center for Justice
Denise Lieberman, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition
Moderator: Gena Gunn McClendon, Center for Social Development
April 13, 2022
Tanya Rhodes Smith, Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work, University of Connecticut; Voting Is Social Work
September 7, 2022
Voting, Misinformation, Disinformation, and Manipulation
Shireen Mitchell, Stop Online Violence Against Women
Jennifer Lohman, St. Louis Area Voter Protection Coalition
September 13, 2022
The Center for Social Development is cosponsoring this event, which is part of the series The Power of Macro Social Work: Forging Pathways, to be hosted by the Open Classroom at the Brown School at Washington University, in collaboration with Influencing Social Policy.
Mimi Abramovitz, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College
Cheryl Aguilar, Hope Center for Wellness
Gena Gunn McClendon, Center for Social Development
Shannon Lane, Yeshiva University
Gary Parker, Clark-Fox Policy Institute
Jenna Powers, University of Connecticut School of Social Work
Adelaide Sandler, Marist College
Moderator: Jason Ostrander, Sacred Heart University
September 28, 2022
Voting in Missouri, Civic Education, and Engagement: Local Voting, Community Action, and Impact
Louis Damani Jones, Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Gena McClendon, Center for Social Development
Eric Frey, St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners
D. Benjamin Borgmeyer, St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners