Race and the 2020 Election

Electoral College 2016

Calls for racial justice have reverberated across the United States in 2020. They have permeated mainstream discourse and will have a significant impact on the 2020 Presidential election. Our panel discussed the current state of racial politics in the United States, with a particular focus on African Americans, Muslim Americans, and Native Americans.

We were delighted to welcome Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Wesley Lowery, Michigan State political scientist Nazita Lajevardi, and Maria Givens from the Native American Agricultural Fund.

This event was recorded and can be viewed on the RAI's Youtube channel.


Wesley Lowery is a journalist at CBS News. He previously worked at the Washington Post where he led the led the newspaper’s ‘Fatal Force’ project which investigated fatal police shootings. This project was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Journalism. He has been named by the National Association of Black Journalists as the ‘Emerging Journalist of the Year’. He is the author of They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement (Hachette).

Maria Givens is a member of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in northern Idaho and serves as the Communications and Public Relations Director for the Native American Agriculture Fund. She has worked as a freelance journalist on tribal political issues and native food systems, and her writing has appeared in publications including Vox. She has worked for the National Congress of American Indians, the National Indian Health Board, and US Senator Jeff Merkley.

Nazita Lajevardi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University. Her work investigates the politically consequential sociopolitical behaviours and attitudes of the American public toward members of marginalised communities. She is the author of Outsiders at Home: The Politics of American Islamophobia (Cambridge University Press). In 2021-2 she will be the John G. Winant Visiting Professor of American Government at the Rothermere American Institute.