Racism & the Exploitation of Christianity

Friday, August 28th 2020

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

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This webinar has been created to have a dialogue about racism and the historical context of how Christianity was weaponized to oppress enslaved Blacks as a form of systemic racism and to address the negative narratives of Christianity being a “White Man’s” religion, but rather a moral compass of principles for all people . This webinar will also speak to the clergy’s needs in their ability to support the black community to navigate through our current state of civil unrest, and what can be done to work towards the dismantling of racism against people of color.


Reverend Omari K. Hughes, Pastor

 Reverend Omari K. Hughes serves alongside his sister in Christ, Rev. Sheleta E. Fomby as the Co-Pastor and Co-Founder of the New Life Church in Laurel, Md. Born in Richmond, Va, Pastor Hughes is the son of Frank and Cheryll Hughes, the proud father of an amazing son, Khalil Omari and husband of the love of his life Natalie Mischel Hughes.

He obtained his B.A. in broadcast journalism from Hampton University and his M. Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in the spring of 2012.

From 2012-2018, Pastor Hughes was blessed to serve as the Pastor of the Church of the Redeemer Baptist in Philadelphia, PA. In 2018 he was called to return back to his home church-Reid Temple AME, where he was blessed to sit and serve under the visionary leadership of his Father in Ministry Dr. Lee P. Washington, former Senior Pastor of the Reid Temple AME Church. It was under Dr. Washington’s spirit lead leadership, that he was first called to serve alongside Rev. Fomby, as the Co-Lead of Reid Temple’s New Life Laurel, an off-site ministry of the church. Under their Co-Leadership, that ministry grew from a monthly bible study, to a weekly gathering averaging over 400 persons in attendance.

In the spring of 2020, Reverend Hughes left Reid Temple to plant and serve as the Co-Founder and Co-Pastor of New Life Church.  In doing so, he sincerely believes that he is fulfilling his Kingdom assignment, pursuing his destiny in Christ and answering the unique call upon his life to serve God’s people during such a time as this.

Dr. Calenthia Dowdy

Rev. Calenthia S. Dowdy, Ph.D., is Director of Faith Initiatives. Her roles at FIGHT include education, outreach, spiritual counseling and faith work. Dr. Dowdy teaches a community course called Faithful TEACH educating faith leaders about HIV/AIDS with the goal of eradicating stigma and misinformation. The course also focuses on relationship and soul tending. Dowdy holds degrees from American University, Westminster Theological Seminary, UPENN and Temple. Other positions have included pastoring youth in and around urban churches, college chaplaincy and teaching, facilitating racial justice workshops, and completing the International Inside-Out Program for prison education in 2019. Dowdy is also honored to have received a Women’s Way Powerful Voice award in 2016.




Tashina Reeder, PhD, LSW

Dr. Reeder joined the Philadelphia FIGHT family in 2018. She holds a Doctorate in Couple and Family Therapy and a Masters in Social Work. She is a licensed social worker who holds certifications in Prolonged Exposure (PE) Therapy and Trauma Recovery Empowerment Model (TREM) groups for women and young girls alike. In her current role, Dr. Reeder creates and organizes health-related educational forums i.e., conferences, webinars, etc., in collaboration with the community and other social service providers to educate professionals and the community at large. Prior to her current role, Dr. Reeder worked in the capacity of the Clinical Director of a substance abuse program for women for 11 years, where she offered treatment services to women and their families promoting self-determination, self-efficacy, recovery supports, and education. 

Her love for people and culture has afforded her opportunities to travel abroad to teach and inspire women and youth to be speakers of life in a world where oppressive constructs are created and misused. She has also presented at various academic and professional forums on topics of Spirituality, Addictions, Trauma, and Empathy, and currently facilitates professional development training on the subject of trauma-informed care within behavioral health institutions. 

 Dr. Reeder has hosted and coordinated women’s empowerment conferences in the Bahamas, South Carolina, and Philadelphia, where in which women were uplifted to move beyond their emotional pain into a place of healing and purpose. She is one of the co-authors in a book entitled,” Pink Sisters Chronicles 3: It Takes a Village.” Dr. Reeder was honored as a No More Secrets Survivor honoree by the No More Secrets MBS: A Realistic Approach to Sexual Health organization in 2017. Dr. Reeder is a lover of travel, art, music, dance, movies, string instruments, and reading a good novel. Her life’s motto is, “An empowered soul has no limits!”


Location Details


Spotlight On

Karam Mounzer, MD

Dr. Mounzer identified two major gaps in the care of patients with HIV/hepatitis C (HCV) co-infection, and the complexity of multidrug-resistant HIV treatment. He is involved with many clinical trials focusing on drug development and better understanding of HIV immunopathogenesis with the Wistar Institute. He is involved in teaching and mentoring.

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Dr. Karam Mounzer

Dr. Mario Cruz

Dr. Mario CruzDr. Cruz is a board certified pediatrician who serves as the Medical Director for our Pediatrics and Adolescent Health Center. He has presented and/or published in the fields of community violence and domestic violence prevention, quality improvement, behavioral health, curriculum development and mentorship. In 2019 he received the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Award for Innovations in Healthcare.

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