Members of the World Council of Churches, an organization representing more than 560 million Christians in 110 countries, will gather next week in Cleveland to discuss how to expose and combat racism around the globe.

The seminar, which will focus on an ecumenical approach, will be hosted by the United Church of Christ, nationally headquartered in downtown Cleveland.

The four-day seminar, beginning Thursday, will include 30 people from churches in various countries.

“We’ll review what’s going on throughout the world,” said the Rev. Linda Jaramillo, executive minister of the UCC’s Justice and Witness Ministries. “We need to address the underground, systemic issues of racism.”

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That includes racial imbalances in prison systems and public schools and economic inequities in job markets, she said.

The Rev. Karen Georgia Thompson, the UCC’s minister for racial justice, said racism is a more difficult target today in the United States than it was during the times of slavery and Jim Crow laws.

“One of the challenges is how to focus our work while the overt structures of racism are no longer there,” she said. “We know it still exists, so how do we direct our energies toward dismantling racism in its forms of the 21st century?”

The group will draft a report to present to a peace-and-justice conference the international council will hold in Jamaica in May.

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