By Mariah Katz | Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Grantee Partners Creating Black Joy & Culturally Aligned Care: Black Maternal Health Week
We commemorate the beginning of Black Maternal Health Week, an annual celebration started by Black Mamas Matter Alliance to amplify the voices, experiences, and leadership of Black mothers, birthing people, and communities.
This year’s theme reflects the national movement to advance birth equity through community-based solutions and care, “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families, and Black Systems of Care.” And while this week is a moment of celebration, our work towards achieving birth justice continues every day and every week.
We follow the lead of Black advocates, community members, and birth workers who have long been advancing and implementing policies and solutions that support Black maternal health. We must continue to listen and to support their efforts to ensure that every Black mother and birthing person receives care that is quality, equitable, and respectful.
Here is a list of the inspiring, Black-led maternal health organizations that Every Mother Counts supports, as well as links to their websites so that you can donate to these leaders directly, share their work, and learn from them:
- Ancient Song Doula Services addresses racial disparities and inequities in maternal health by providing full spectrum doula services to individuals and families in New York City and northern New Jersey. The organization provides doula training and certification to increase access to birth workers in low-income communities and communities of color, hosts conferences and educational forums targeting implicit bias and racism within the health care system, and advocates at the local, state, and national level to advance equity in maternal health.
- Birthmark Doula Collective is dedicated to supporting, informing, and advocating for pregnant and parenting people and their families in New Orleans. They offer childbirth education, doula services, and lactation support when individuals most need this support, including during emergency situations in Louisiana. Birthmark is also part of local and state advocacy efforts to improve equity and the quality of perinatal care through improvement initiatives, legislation, and provider education.
- Commonsense Childbirth is working to eliminate racial and class disparities in perinatal health and to improve birth outcomes by providing access to high-quality, continuous, and comprehensive community-based maternity care to those with the highest need. Based in central Florida, Commonsense operates an Easy Access Clinic, free-standing birth center, National Perinatal Task Force, and midwifery training program, and is working not only to transform access and experience of care, but also to raise awareness and address the systemic barriers that influence poor maternal health outcomes.
- Mamatoto Village is training the next generation of Perinatal Community Health Workers and empowering women with the tools necessary to make informed decisions about their maternity care, parenting, and lives. Mamatoto Village has two goals: providing free and low-cost maternity services to women of color and their families in Washington, D.C. through the first year of their child’s life, and increasing the number of women of color working in the field of maternal health. Mamatoto Village works to achieve these goals through two foundational programs, the Mothers Rising Home Visitation (MRHV) and Perinatal Health Workers Training (PHWT) programs.
- Roots Community Birth Center is a midwife-led birth center born out of a vision to make out-of-hospital birth accessible and welcoming for all families. Based in the north side of Minneapolis, Roots provides individualized, culturally concordant maternity care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period to women from all backgrounds, specifically women of color and low-income individuals. Through their Seed Community Fund, Roots provides childbirth education classes at no cost to pregnant people and is also working to open Minneapolis’ first Easy Access Clinic.
- The Shades of Blue Project is dedicated to helping women before, during, and after childbirth with community resources, mental health advocacy, treatment, and support in the Houston area and beyond. Their vision is to change the way women are diagnosed and treated after giving birth and experiencing any adverse maternal mental health outcomes. Through their INSPIRE Training Method, Shades of Blue is preparing health care workers, doulas, and maternal health advocates to incorporate compassionate care methods into their everyday work.
- SisterWeb is a community-based doula organization in San Francisco working to close equity gaps and improve health by training Black, Latinx, and Pacific Islander doulas and linking them with pregnant people in their own communities to provide culturally relevant prenatal, childbirth, and postpartum support. SisterWeb also supports the development of doula-facilitated community education and partners with local organizations and institutions to make a wide-scale system change to the way hospitals and community health clinics provide pregnancy and birthing care to communities of color.
- Uzazi Village is dedicated to decreasing maternal and infant health inequities in Black and Brown communities in Kansas City and nationally. Uzazi Village offers doula training and support, a free walk-in breastfeeding clinic, infant and maternity clothing from the Uzazi Closet, empowered and informative childbirth education, a group prenatal care clinic, and transformative training to assist health care organizations to embrace anti-racist practices.
- Village Birth International provides community-based doula care to improve outcomes in birth, breastfeeding, parenting, and healing for communities in Syracuse, New York. VBI trains, mentors, and supports birth workers to provide physical, emotional, spiritual care, and advocacy throughout all stages of reproductive health care and is dedicated to improving outcomes in maternal health while seeking reproductive justice for families facing inequities in the childbearing years.
These organizations are at the forefront of the birth justice movement, bringing respectful, quality, culturally congruent, and community-led care and support to Black families. And they’re doing so with love and healing to center joy, wellbeing, and autonomy for Black birthing people. Donate to our Black-led grantees in the U.S. by clicking their links above, sharing their work on social media, and learning about our strategy to support their work below.