National Youth Advocate Starsky D. Wilson to Speak May 20 at Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit on Racism

Prevention Action Alliance to Address Racism’s Impacts on Health and Communities at Virtual Event


COLUMBUS, Ohio—Prevention Action Alliance announced that the Rev. Dr. Starsky D. Wilson, the new president and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund, will be the keynote speaker May 20 at the Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit on Racism: Promoting Equity Through Culturally Competent Prevention, according to Fran Gerbig, PAA executive director. The virtual summit will explore the impact of racism on health and well-being, on communities and how prevention should be part of the solution to this national crisis.

Gerbig said, “Racism is a public health crisis that has a negative impact on the physical and mental health and well-being of Black Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Indigenous people and other people of color—especially children. It contributes to serious health issues, such as increased risk of substance misuse and mental health conditions, as well as maternal and infant mortality, diabetes and heart disease.

“We are honored to have the Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson of the Children’s Defense Fund address how we can protect our young people from systemic racism and violence, and build a better future for them, their families and our country.”

Wilson recently joined the Children’s Defense Fund as its leader in December. Previously, he headed the Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grantmaking organization supporting child well-being in St. Louis through philanthropy, advocacy and organizing for racial equity and public policy change. Under his leadership, Deaconess constructed and established the Deaconess Center for Child Well-Being. From 2008 through 2018, Wilson pastored Saint John’s United Church of Christ of St. Louis, where he led activism on many issues. After the police killing of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson, Mo., he co-chaired the Ferguson Commission. In 2015, they released the “Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity” report, calling for sweeping changes in policing, the courts, child well-being and economic mobility.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana, Master of Divinity from Eden Theological Seminary and the Doctor of Ministry from Duke University. For public theology, he was awarded honorary Doctor of Public Service and Doctor of Divinity degrees by Saint Louis University and Eden Theological Seminary.

Prevention Action Alliance established the Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit to provide education and understanding around emerging issues in prevention. The summit educates, empowers and advocates for culturally competent solutions in prevention.

This year’s virtual summit will address racism, its impacts on public health, people and communities and how prevention should be part of the solution. Its goal is to provide Ohio’s prevention professionals and community stakeholders a space to learn, have conversations, share resources, and serve as a call-to-action for change that is competent, just and equitable.

In addition to Dr. Wilson’s opening keynote speech, the virtual event will feature presentations from: Simone Crawley, founder and CEO of Crawley Cultural Consulting; Dr. Chenelle Jones, assistant dean of Community Engagement at Franklin University, Dr. Terrance Dean, assistant professor at Denison University; and closing keynote speaker Dr. Wanda Boone, executive director of Together for Resilient Youth. Other highlights include a performance by Honey Bell-Bey and The Distinguished Gentlemen of Spoken Word and a call-to-action message from U.S. Rep. Joyce Beatty (Ohio 3rd Congressional District).

The Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit on Racism will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 20. The cost is $49 per person. The event is sponsored in part by UMADAOP of Dayton and Summit County Community Partnership. Continuing education credits are pending.

Visit for more details and how to register for the event.