Black History Month Webinar Educates Through Shared Experience

Compassion & Choices hosted a panel of influential faith leaders for a highly informative and moving discussion on end-of-life planning and care in the Black community.
February 24, 2021

As part of our celebration of Black History Month that spanned the month of February, Compassion & Choices Director of Community Engagement Brandi Alexander moderated the powerful webinar End-of-Life Empowerment and the Faith Community. Alexander, a decade-plus veteran of Compassion & Choices, has herself openly shared her family’s experience navigating end-of-life issues.This webinar focused on end-of-life education and planning from a faith perspective, featuring a panel of distinguished faith leaders:


  • Dr. Jeff Gardere, better known from numerous television appearances as “America’s Psychologist,” a board certified clinical psychologist, prolific author and ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity from The New Seminary.
  • Rev. Charles McNeill, pastor of Unity Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., president of the National Capital Baptist Convention and member of the Compassion & Choices African American Leadership Council.
  • Rev. Dr. Carolyn Gilmore, pastor of Galatians Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., with doctorates in clinical psychology from Howard University, and divinity and theology from Wilbur Waters School of Religion and Theological Studies. 

Their own personal experiences combined with firsthand knowledge gained from working with individuals, families and their communities on issues surrounding end-of-life planning and care, as well as the psychological impact of death and grief, guided the conversation. The webinar began with a prayer from Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, president of the Connecticut State Missionary Baptist Convention. Also included were videos featuring the speakers, Compassion & Choices staff and other supporters discussing end-of-life matters and the importance of advance planning. Data was shared with the more than 300 participants on disparities in end-of-life care in the Black community as well, such as underutilization of hospice care and disproportionate impact of COVID-19. 

“There are many positive psychological effects when it comes to planning,” noted Gardere. “Planning means being able to look at your goals, where you have the ultimate decision, but you do have the opinions and the support of those around you.” 

Said McNeill, “The best thing to do is to sit down and have the conversation.”

GIlmore offered a particularly moving account of the variance in end-of-life outcomes among her own family members, ranging from highly detailed planning to none at all. “It caused us siblings to realize the necessity of talking about death and getting our affairs in order.”


Compassion & Choices
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Patricia A. González-Portillo
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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.