COVID-19 continues to have a disproportionate impact on Black, Indigenous and Communities of Color. This event features three important perspectives on how local elected officials, local government staff, and partners in the community can work to engage the public and address disparities with proven strategies. Our panelist will discuss the issue from a scientific, community advocacy and local government perspective. 



Dr Mary Bassett

Dr. Mary Bassett has dedicated her career to advancing health equity. She is currently the Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud (FXB) Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and the FXB Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Prior to joining the FXB Center, she served as New York City’s Commissioner of Health from 2014 to 2018.





Justin Edwards


Justin Edwards is the North American Director for the Social Progress Imperative, where he leads regional strategy to integrate the Social Progress Index (SPI) framework into local leaders’ governance, program delivery and investment initiatives in pursuit of more sustainable and inclusive growth. He has developed partnerships with mayors, county officials, and cross-sector platforms in regions ranging from Miami-Dade County in Florida to the Province of Alberta, Canada, and in cities ranging from San Jose, California to Jackson, Mississippi. Justin has spent the past fifteen years focused on US philanthropy, international development, and social innovation. He previously led communications at the World Wide Web Foundation, Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s NGO focused on preserving a free and open Web. Prior to that, he supported nearly 3,000 charitable foundations and individual donors across the US with Exponent Philanthropy and consulted with the Johnson Center for Philanthropy’s Foundation Review at Grand Valley State University.



Chokwe Lumumba


On July 3, 2017, Chokwe Antar Lumumba became the 53rd mayor of the City of Jackson, Mississippi.  He was 34 years old, making him the youngest mayor in Jackson’s history. Mayor Lumumba earned his Juris Doctorate and a certificate in sports and entertainment law from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 2008. After law school, he immediately returned to Jackson, Mississippi to serve with his late father, former Mayor Chokwe Lumumba at Lumumba, Freelon, and Associates. He litigated criminal and civil cases and represented various sports and entertainment clients for the firm. In 2013, he launched his own firm—Lumumba and Associates—a firm “Dedicated to Community. Invested in Justice.” Mayor Lumumba has a history of pro bono work as part of his commitment to providing community members with quality representation regardless of the ability to pay.




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