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The People’s Health In Crisis: Reflections on Poverty, Racism, and the Fight to Defend Democracy
October 28, 2020 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
To raise awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequities that it has revealed and deepened, the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health co-hosted an online discussion with leaders from the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.
During this event, panelists shared personal narratives around the following topics:
- How this moment connects to the civil rights movement of the 1960s
- How grassroots movements are dealing with the pandemic and resulting inequities
- Avenues through which public health researchers and students can better bridge the scientist-advocate worlds
- Voter suppression and the 2020 United States presidential election
Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Poor People's Campaign Co-Chair
The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II is the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call For Moral Revival; bishop with The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries; visiting professor at Union Theological Seminary; pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and the author of four books: “We Are Called to Be a Movement”; “Revive Us Again: Vision and Action in Moral Organizing”; “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear”; and “Forward Together: A Moral Message for the Nation.” Rev. Dr. Barber is also the architect of the Forward Together Moral Movement that gained national acclaim with its Moral Monday protests at the North Carolina General Assembly in 2013. These weekly actions drew tens of thousands of North Carolinians and other moral witnesses to the state legislature. More than 1,200 peaceful protesters were arrested, handcuffed and jailed. On September 12, 2016, Rev. Dr. Barber led a “Moral Day of Action,” the largest coordinated action on state capitals in U.S. history, calling for state governments to embrace a moral public policy agenda. On February 11, 2017, he led the largest moral march in North Carolina state history, with more than 80,000 people calling on North Carolina’s elected officials to embrace a moral public policy agenda.
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, Poor People's Campaign Co-Chair
The Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis is co-chair of The Poor People’s Campaign and serves as director of the Kairos Center and founder/coordinator of the Poverty Initiative. She has spent the past two decades organizing amongst the poor in the U.S., working with and advising grassroots organizations with significant victories including the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, the Vermont Workers Center, Domestic Workers United, the United Workers Association, the National Union of the Homeless and the Kensington Welfare Rights Union. She has led hundreds of trainings, Bible studies, and leadership development workshops; spoken at dozens of conferences and keynote presentations across the U.S. and globally; and published several articles and book chapters sharing her vision that poverty can be ended and that the poor can be agents of social change. Liz received her BA in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania; her M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary in 2004 where she was the first William Sloane Coffin Scholar; and her PhD from Union in New Testament and Christian Origins. She is the author of “Always with Us?: What Jesus Really Said about the Poor” (Eerdmans, 2017). Liz is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, FXB Center for Health and Human Rights Director
Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights and FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights in the department of Social and Behavioral Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. With more than 30 years of experience devoted to promoting health equity and social justice, both in the U.S. and abroad, Dr. Bassett’s career has spanned academia, government and not-for-profit work. From 2014 through summer 2018, she served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where she made racial justice a priority and worked to address the structural racism at the root of the city’s persistent gaps in health between white New Yorkers and communities of color. Dr. Bassett’s many awards and honors include the prestigious Frank A. Calderone Prize in Public Health, a Kenneth A. Forde Lifetime Achievement Award from Columbia University, a Victoria J. Mastrobuono Award for Women’s Health, and the National Organization for Women’s Champion of Public Health Award. She has also been elected a member of the National Academy of Medicine. For many years, she served as an associate editor of the American Journal of Public Health. Her recent publications include articles in The Lancet and New England Journal of Medicine addressing structural racism and health inequities in the U.S.
Dr. Chandra Ford, UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health Founding Director
Dr. Ford is a professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and founding director of the Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health. Prior to joining UCLA, she completed postdoctoral training in Social Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she was a W. K. Kellogg Foundation health scholar. Overall, Dr. Ford’s research examines relationships between racism-related factors and disparities in the HIV care continuum; and it advances the conceptual and methodological tools for studying racism’s relationship to health disparities. In 2016, she was named to the National Academy of Medicine Committee on Community-based Solutions to Promote Health Equity in the U.S. of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and appointed co-chair of the Committee on Science of the American Public Health Association’s newly formed Anti-Racism Collaborative. Previously, she served as President of the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues. Currently, she is a member of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American College of Epidemiology and chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA.
Dr. Sharrelle Barber, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health Assistant Professor
Dr. Sharrelle Barber is a social epidemiologist whose research focuses on the intersection of “place, race, and health.” Dr. Barber leverages state-of-the-art epidemiologic cohort studies to examine how neighborhood-level structural determinants of health such as concentrated economic disinvestment and racial residential segregation impact cardiometabolic risk factors and cardiovascular disease onset among Blacks in the Southern United States and Brazil. Her work is framed through a structural racism lens, grounded in interdisciplinary theories (e.g. Ecosocial Theory and Critical Race Theory) and employs various advanced methodological techniques including multilevel modeling and longitudinal data analyses. Through empirical evidence, her work seeks to document how racism becomes “embodied” through the neighborhood context and how this fundamental structural determinant of racial health inequities can be leveraged for transformative change through anti-racist policy initiatives.
Dr. Barber’s empirical work and academic commentary has been published in leading academic journals including the Lancet Infectious Disease, the American Journal of Public Health, and Social Science and Medicine. Her work has been externally funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Currently, Dr. Barber serves on the Jackson Heart Study Scientific Council and is co-chair of the Social Determinants of Health Working Group for the study.
Dr. Barber received a Doctor of Science (ScD) degree in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health. Dr. Barber is committed to using her scholarship to make the invisible, visible; mobilize data for action; and contribute to the transnational dialogue around racism and health inequities.
Dr. Zinzi Bailey, University of Miami Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity Research Assistant Professor
Dr. Zinzi Bailey is a social epidemiologist focused on cancer health disparities, as well as the health impacts of and policy solutions for structural and institutional discrimination, especially at the intersection of public health and criminal justice. She is also interested in the use of data and indicators in equitable policy and management. She is currently an assistant scientist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s Jay Weiss Institute for Health Equity at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Zinzi was the director of research and evaluation at the Center for Health Equity in the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2015–2017. She was a postdoctoral fellow at McGill’s Institute for Health and Social Policy from 2014-2015, and a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program in Criminal Justice Policy and Management 2011-2014. She received her Doctor of Science degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, and her Master of Science in Public Health degree with a concentration in Global Epidemiology from Emory University. Zinzi serves as a member of the IRL Research Team and co-chair of IRL Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce.
About The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America. They sought to build a broad, fusion movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. Their name was a direct cry from the underside of history: The Poor People’s Campaign. Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this unfinished work by uniting people across the country to challenge the evils of systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, ecological devastation and the nation’s distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
Poor People’s Campaign Main Website
Poor People’s Campaign Principles
Poor People’s Campaign Impacted Leaders
Poor People’s Campaign Digital Justice Gathering
Poor People’s Campaign M.O.R.E Tour
Poor People’s Campaign Jubilee Platform
Poor People’s Campaign Get Involved
Poor People’s Campaign Everybody’s Got a Right to Live
Poor People’s Campaign Pain and Poverty in America
Recent Efforts of the Poor People’s Campaign COVID-19 Health Justice Advisory Committee
About The UCLA Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice and Health
The Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health is a multidisciplinary community of academic and non-academic affiliates working to address the root causes of racial health inequities. The center supports rigorous research, innovative teaching, and community engagement on the health implications of racial and other social inequalities. To learn more, please click here.
About The François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University
The FXB Center is an interdisciplinary center that conducts rigorous investigation of the most serious threats to health and wellbeing globally. We work closely with scholars, students, the international policy community, and civil society to engage in ongoing strategic efforts to promote equity and dignity for those oppressed by grave poverty and stigma around the world. To learn more, please click here.