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by Rev. Dr. Micheal Edwards, Executive director, Regional Synod of New York (RCA)

This article is part of our Spring 2021 Breaking Barriers. This installment focuses on race and disability. If you'd like to read more stories from this issue, please subscribe to Breaking Barriers

During this pandemic, various health organizations have cited higher occurrence and death rates connected with race and disability. Among church communities within the Regional Synod of New York—rural, urban, and suburban—we have observed that COVID-19 has made mobility issues related to self-care and recovery difficult for African Americans and Hispanics to secure due to the lack of information and health services provided in their communities. We also recognize the concerns of people of color and those with disabilities in securing vaccines regardless of gender or socio-economic factors.

For people with disabilities, including mental health challenges, the complex interaction of biological, psychological, lifestyle, environmental, social, and neighborhood factors have been amplified in the pandemic. The Synod of New York is seeking ways to educate churches to address these issues.

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