HARTFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The faith community historically has led the way for the advancement of African Americans, and today its role includes promoting health and wellness for people at disproportionate risk for many diseases. The 13 faith leaders featured in the 2011 Aetna African American History Calendar hold different beliefs – Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism – but they share a common goal of eliminating health disparities in the African American community.
“The African American faith community has helped create hospitals, nursing homes and orphanages specifically for African American people,” says Rev. Dr. Fred Lucas, senior pastor at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Community Church and president and CEO of Faith Center for Community Development Inc., who is featured in this year’s calendar. “This faith community has provided financial support; political power; volunteers; facilities and physical space; media ministries; and ‘bully pulpits’ to develop the body, mind and soul. Like the wonderful people who make up that community, this year’s Aetna African American History Calendar is a source of education, inspiration and hope.”
“Aetna praises the lives and work of these exceptional leaders of African American faith communities,” said Mark T. Bertolini, CEO and president of Aetna. “Their contributions reinforce the influence faith leaders can have in bringing about positive change. In this year’s calendar, we celebrate their examples and the healthful blessings that have the power to inspire us all.”
Aetna (NYSE: AET) has produced the African American History Calendar since 1982 as an annual tribute to the extraordinary and educational endeavors of African Americans. This year’s calendar is the 30th anniversary edition.
“Aetna is proud to mark the 30th year of the African American History Calendar,” said Floyd Green, Aetna’s head of community relations and urban marketing. “Over the years, we’ve celebrated the accomplishments of African Americans, and in recent years, we’ve explored diverse health care topics. As we continue on this journey, we offer our praise and continued support for the lives and work of so many African American leaders across the country.”
The 2011 calendar features individuals who have dedicated their lives to inspiring and empowering others while stressing the crucial nexus of mind, body and spirit.
A well-known leader featured in the calendar is Bishop T.D. Jakes, founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a well-known 30,000-member church based in Dallas. Through The Potter’s Touch, his weekly television outreach, Bishop Jakes delivers his teachings through the United States, Africa, Australia, Europe and the Caribbean.
Also featured in the calendar is Rabbi Capers C. Funnye Jr., rabbi and spiritual leader of Chicago’s Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, the nation’s oldest African American synagogue. The synagogue’s “Sacred Aging” program for older congregants combines healthy eating, exercise, health screenings, arts and crafts, Bible studies and spiritual teachings.
Calendar honoree Safiyah Abdul Khaaliq promotes the importance of self-help and empowering Muslim and non-Muslim women to take proactive steps toward a healthful lifestyle. She is founder and CEO of Essential Living for Muslim Women Inc., and director of administrative services of the Essential Living for Muslim Women Breast Health/Mammography initiative.
Other leaders profiled in the 2011 calendar are:
- Rev. Byron L. Benton, associate pastor of the Berean Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.;
- John Butler III, an African American Hundu Vaishvavaite of the monotheistic tradition of the Brahma Madhwa Sampradaya (lineage), Conyers, Ga.;
- Rev. Mary Diggs-Hobson, co-founder and executive director of African Americans Reach & Teach Health Ministry, Seattle;
- Rev. Anthony Evans, president of the National Black Church Initiative, Washington, D.C.;
- Dr. LeRoy M. Graham Jr., associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta;
- Angela F. Griffin, assistant professor of physical therapy, Downstate University, Brooklyn, N.Y.;
- Stephanie Joy Jackson-Rowe, founder, president and CEO of the Christian Aerobics and Fitness Association, Chicago;
- Rev. James L. Patterson, ordained elder and senior pastor of Institute Church of the Nazarene Institute, Charleston, W.V.;
- Dr. Pernessa C. Seele, founder and CEO of The Balm In Gilead Inc., Richmond, Va.; and
- Prof. Jan Willis, well-known writer on topics related to Buddhism, distinguished professor of religion at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn.
The 2011 African American History Calendar – Healthful Blessings: Faith-Based Health Initiatives Making a Difference for African Americans – is available for $4 by calling 860-273-0509. The online version of the calendar is available at Aetna’s diversity website: http://aetnaafricanamericancalendar.com/2011/
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