The Black Church and Co-occurring Pandemics


Health Promotion and Physical Education

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Black people represent less than 13% of the population in the United States, but over 15% of COVID-19 deaths, with a mortality rate two times higher than White people. The Black Church system has historically been in a unique position to serve Black communities, particularly during times of crisis. The deep-rooted connection of the Black Church system within Black communities was largely shaped by slavery and segregation. However, there have been questions about the relevance of the Black Church system today. The objective of this commentary is to describe the intersectionality of ministry and health that has been illuminated in a profound way during this pandemic. Those in leadership had to evaluate and disseminate COVID-19 information to congregants, recognizing mistrust of the medical and public health systems still permeates throughout Black communities. Moreover, the death of George Floyd sparked international outcry, which launched church leaders to respond to a second pandemic: systemic racism. Understanding ways the Black Church responded to COVID-19, and systemic racism, is significantly important to public health and medical communities as it addresses the relevance of this system and ways to appropriately support during another public health crisis.

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Health Promotion Practice

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