Archdiocese of Chicago’s Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) to host 2nd Annual Climate Justice Conference in Englewood

Environmental scientist and author Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington keynote

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The Archdiocese of Chicago Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) will host their 2nd Annual Climate Justice Conference on All Soul’s Day, November 2nd at St. Benedict the African Parish, 6559 S. Stewart St. The event is unique in the Englewood area in its efforts to promote environmental justice and explore how to heal climate-impacted communities. It will be keynoted by Dr. Sylvia Hood Washington, environmental epidemiologist, engineer and historian. The day will begin with Mass at 8:30, followed by Washington’s keynote at 9:30. Beginning at 10:30 there will be a series of workshops exploring Chicago specific environmental issues.

Washington is chief environmental research scientist at Environmental Health Research Associates, LLC., and has 30 years of research experience working on the impact of industrial pollution on human health and ecosystems. In her book, Packing Them In: An Archaeology of Environmental Racism in Chicago, 1865-1954, Washington tells the stories of Chicago’s poor, working class, and ethnic minority neighborhoods―such as Back of the Yards and Bronzeville―that suffered disproportionately negative environmental impacts and consequent pollution related health problems. Hood- Washington is also an internationally certified Healing Touch Practitioner (HTCP), who applies the method from a Judeo Christian format. Healing Touch is the only accredited ‘energy healing modality’ in the world used in many settings including cancer centers, hospices and in hospitals globally.

“The Climate Justice Conference is the only event of its kind addressing this global issue held on Chicago’s south side,” says Father David Jones, head of the Black Catholic Initiative and pastor at St. Benedict the African. “This event directly tackles the causes and solutions to environmental issues prevalent in African American communities, and we are fortunate to have a nationally recognized expert like Dr. Washington address our participants.”

The Climate Justice Conference is targeted to all community members, notably those who are concerned about, and suffer from high rates of asthma, COPD, lead poisoning, diabetes, mercury exposure and cardiovascular disease. These are conditions most prevalent in those who live within 30 miles of coal fired power plants, in housing built prior to 1946 and have a history of eating fish caught in the Great Lakes.

To RSVP for the forum visitor for more information call 312-577-0475. You can also follow the Black Catholic Initiative on Facebook.

About the Black Catholic Initiative (BCI)
The Black Catholic Initiative (BCI) has as its focus the 66K African American Catholics served by 351 parishes, 38 of which are predominately African American. The BCI was created to prepare the church for the next generation of African American Catholics, charging them to be fully present and accountable. The goal of the BCI is to come together, and work together in order to give and serve the Church. The BCI is an ethnic ministry that actively participates and offers its work as a gift to the local church of Chicago. Those involved in the BCI will practice Umoja, Kujichagulia and Ujima, (unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility) in order to first give honor to God, and to offer Catholicity with the whole church. The BCI will be one church, not many parishes. In this tried and true tradition, the BCI will plainly and clearly be Catholic.

About the Archdiocese of Chicago
The Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest in the United States, serves more than 2.2 million Catholics in 351 parishes in Cook and Lake Counties, a geographic area of 1,411 square miles. The Archdiocese, pastored by Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, has more than 15,000 employees in its systems and ministries, including Catholic Charities, the region’s largest nonprofit social service agency. The Archdiocese also has one of the country’s largest seminaries. The Archdiocese’s 217 elementary and secondary schools comprise the largest U.S. private school system and have garnered more U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Awards than any system of any type.

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