Michael Curry: Waging a duel-front war on the pandemic and racism

THE LAST SEVERAL MONTHS have been dominated by two seismic issues convulsing the nation — the global coronavirus pandemic and a burgeoning movement for racial justice. For Michael Curry, that’s meant working double-time as the twin crises strike at the heart of the work he’s been doing in Boston for years.

The son of a Roxbury single mother who migrated to Boston from the Jim Crow South, Curry is deputy CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and the past president of the Boston branch of the NAACP, who has had prominent roles nationally in the iconic civil rights organization.

After digging in to the history of racial discrimination in his studies and serving as president of the black student union at Macalester College in Minnesota, Curry said he made a commitment to pursue racial justice work. “So that brought me home,” he said on a new “Health or Consequences” episode of The Codcast with John McDonough of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and Dr. Paul Hattis of Tufts University School of Medicine.

It eventually took Curry to the presidency of the Boston branch of the NAACP, where he led a rejuvenation of the chapter and became a leading voice of the city’s black community.