Faith and Justice Leaders Address Black Health, Social Justice Crisis

“When America gets a cold, Black America gets the flu. We cannot afford to put our health on the back burner any longer.

Photo: Conference of National Black Churches

ORLANDO, FL (December 2022) – This week, Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman of the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC), gathered the nation’s most influential Black leaders for a three-day conference in Orlando, FL. This conference, focused on confronting the double impact of Covid-19 and systemic racism on the Black community, served a broader goal of uniting Black leaders across industries and generations to collectively strategize for the advancement of civil rights, bringing fervor to the movement across generational lines and industries. 

As part of a five-year partnership with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccines and prostate cancer screenings were offered to conference attendees. In just a few days, more than 350 people were vaccinated against COVID-19 and screened for prostate cancer, the flu, shingles and other illness.

“When America gets a cold, Black America gets the flu. We cannot afford to put our health on the back burner any longer. COVID is still here. We want as many people as possible to receive the booster shot because that is the best method of protection against the current variants. Vaccine fatigue is real, and we want to offer frequent opportunities to people to get vaccinated,” said Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson. “We gathered some of the brightest minds in the nation to address Black physical and mental health. The Black Church is alive and well, and we are committed to health and social justice and providing adequate health access to Black communities across this country. It is imperative that we rebuild trust amongst the Black community in healthcare, which is entrenched in medical racism, through programmatic initiatives.”

A dynamic list of speakers and panelists at the conference reflected the Church’s commitment to using its resources to advance equity and social justice, as well as collectively brainstorming the way forward in reaching these objectives.

Congressman James Clyburn emphasized the necessity of increasing widespread access to education, internet and technology; Rev. Al Sharpton gave a riveting keynote address on the critical continuation of the fight for justice; social justice advocate Tamika Mallory and a panel of mental health experts addressed destigmatizing and increasing accessibility to mental health resources; and Attorney Benjamin Crump offered a legal perspective on the work that has been done for social justice and what still remains to be accomplished.

The consultation kicked off with a community health fair at New Covenant Baptist Church in Orlando, which boasted more than 100 participants. Funding from the CDC made all the vaccinations possible.

About The CNBC 
The Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) is the premiere public policy and social justice expression of the Black ecclesiastical denominations we represent in America. CNBC is comprised of the national leadership of the largest historically Black denominations in America: The African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Church of God in Christ, Inc., National Baptist Convention of America USA, Inc and the Progressive National Baptist Convention; representing more than 80% of African American Christians across this nation with a combined membership of over 25 million people and 30,000 congregations.

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