Systemic racism in America has shown itself to be a public health crisis, particularly as COVID-19 has affected Black Americans at disproportionate rates.

The Gift of Black Theological Education and Black Church Collaborative, a unique movement of historic Black schools and denominations, is bringing together congregations across America and experts to address the issues.

In April, the Gift Collaborative is hosting a series of five free Zoom presentations exploring the issues surrounding health disparities as well as finding positive solutions.

The presentations start on April 13 with, MD, MDiv., MPH, speaking on “The Intersection of COVID-19 and Health Disparities.” Burnett is the founder of RAPHA Health Inc., which provides information and education about health issues to faith-based and community organizations and brings many resources to the discussion. Four other cutting-edge presentations (listed below) will follow throughout the month, covering topics including mental health, addiction, nutrition, and reproductive health.

These sessions are part of an ongoing series of presentations by The Gift Collaborative, which has brought together leaders of Historically Black Theological Institutions (HBTIs), denominational leaders, scholars, and congregants to not only address racism and social issues but also build leadership capacity in congregations. The Collaborative intends to inform a new generation of leaders engaged in building new pathways forward in America.

The Gift Collaborative is a critical alignment of the relationship development and collegiality among the six HBTIs: Hood Theological Seminary in Salisbury, North Carolina, the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, Shaw University Divinity School in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.

The denominations participating in the collaborative include: The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), Baptist General Convention of Virginia, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME), Church of God in Christ (COGIC), General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina Baptist, and the United Methodist Church.

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