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Empowering Change: Advocacy Across States for Black Maternal Health

Empowering Change: Advocacy Across States for Black Maternal Health

During Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) (April 11th – April 17th), we take a moment to reflect on the progress achieved and the continued journey ahead. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance established BMHW to amplify the voices and experiences of Black birthing individuals and their families. This year’s theme, “Our Bodies STILL Belong to Us: Reproductive Justice NOW!,” underscores our ongoing struggle to ensure Reproductive Justice for all.

Amidst the current political climate, we’re witnessing a surge in the implementation of restrictive measures nationwide. These barriers, particularly access to essential healthcare services like abortion, exacerbate the already alarming disparities in maternal and birth outcomes for Black birthing individuals. It’s evident that a comprehensive policy shift is urgently needed to ensure equitable sexual and reproductive healthcare.

At In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda, our partners are actively engaged in this crucial work. Our network comprises eight strategic partners and four state enhancement initiative organizations across 10 states, all dedicated to driving transformative change through Reproductive Justice policy and advocacy efforts. This BMHW, our partners will host a series of events throughout the week tailored to the needs of Black birthing individuals, their families, communities and birth workers that serve them.

Black Women for Wellness (BWW), located in Los Angeles, is a dedicated strategic partner of In Our Own Voice, placing maternal health at the forefront of their efforts through policy, advocacy, and community engagement. BWW is organizing a Black Mamas Birthing Tour, inviting expecting mothers and their support persons to embark on a guided exploration of various birthing spaces across Los Angeles County. This unique tour not only provides valuable insight into birthing options but also fosters a sense of community and support among participants. Additionally, BWW will be hosting a Black Short Film Festival featuring vendors that actively support Black maternal and infant health, offering a platform to celebrate and uplift diverse voices within the community.

In Philadelphia, our state enhancement partner Oshun Family Center is committed to providing racially concordant care to members of the Black community through their focus on holistic healing and birthing modalities such as doula and lactation support. Their approach centers the experiences of Black individuals, striving to create a welcoming space for healing and refuge. As part of their dedication to Black Maternal Health Week, Oshun Family Center, in collaboration with our strategic partner New Voices for Reproductive Justice, will be organizing an Advocacy Day on April 17th. This event aims to unite community members in meetings with state representatives to advocate for critical issues in Black maternal health legislation and policy.

Birth in Color RVA, with its network of expert birth workers, is gearing up to host a Black Maternal Health Summit, tackling the urgent issues surrounding maternal healthcare disparities. This summit, hosted by our state enhancement partner, serves as a vital platform for education, discussion, and advocacy, addressing systemic challenges and striving towards equitable maternal care for all.

As we commemorate Black Maternal Health Week, we urge individuals across the nation to join these impactful events in their respective states. By participating, you can contribute to the collective effort to confront and address the disparities plaguing Black maternal health, fostering meaningful change within communities. Together, let us stand in solidarity and advocate for the overall well-being of Black birthing individuals.

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