birth justice: bipoc-founded maternal health organizations to support who are working to end the black maternal health crisis
By Jada Shapiro, boober founder
The facts around Black maternal health are staggering and we need action:
Black birthing people are 3-4 times more likely to die in or soon after childbirth in the US and 12x more likely in NYC. While this has gotten some more awareness in the last few years, we need to take immediate action so we can stop these painful tragedies from occurring, bring an end to these preventable deaths and push legislators to hold healthcare professionals and hospitals accountable. We cannot continue to lose Black mothers like Jazmir Taylor, Yolanda “Shiphrah” Kadima, Sha-Asia Washington, and Amber Rose who all died this year. For people who are unsure of how to get involved or contribute, we’ve compiled a list of organizations you can support monetarily or otherwise.
These groups, organizations and individuals are committed to making systemic changes through legislation, hospital policy change and by caring for individuals and families in need. These organizations and people need money to do their work. White people, consider setting aside a monthly amount you can give to organizations and individuals who are working toward reducing disparities in maternal healthcare. You can also directly fund and support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) individuals who are pursuing careers in midwifery and lactation. You’ll see different opportunities in our stories on @getboober Instagram account where you will find links to provide direct support to BIPOC individuals.
Several organizations working to improve Black maternal health outcomes which will benefit from your support:
This list (in alphabetical order) is by no means exhaustive. Please feel free to share relevant links and social postings with @getboober so we can help amplify to our community.
Ancient Song Doula Services – Brooklyn
Ancient Song is a social profit organization working towards addressing racial disparities and inequities within the healthcare system. They do this by providing full spectrum doula services, training & certification, conferences and educational forums to address the maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, implicit bias, and racism within healthcare systems. “Through community, advocacy, reproductive/birth justice and education we aim to tackle some of the issues affecting communities of color. Community is one of the foundational pillars that our work is centered in. Realizing that the first navigators in care are the people who live and work in the communities they reside. Giving voice to the joys and pains that center people of color accessing healthcare services. Our work in advocacy comes in the form of policy reform, campaigns for equity in maternal health, workshops, and conferences. Our goal is to shift the narrative and address implicit bias and racism within maternal and reproductive health.”
Birth From the Earth “became a non-profit organization in 2019, after 10 years of community engagement and building, in an effort to evoke change rapidly on a grander scale. WE as a society deserve equity, quality and love in the care that we give and receive… which means we have to create it for ourselves. Birth from the Earth is dedicated to making Home Birth safe, sacred and accessible to those who need it the most!
The Birthing Place is “a team of experienced, BIPOC local doulas and birthing professionals with a dream: to create The Birthing Place, serving families in search of a safe, serene, and deeply supportive alternative to birthing low-risk pregnancies in hospitals.” The Birthing Place is a freestanding birth center which will be located in The Bronx, NY.
Black Women Birthing Justice
“BWBJ is a grass-roots collective out of Oakland, CA. We identify as Black women and individuals across the African Diaspora and are committed to transforming birthing experiences for Black women and birthing people…We aim to educate and inform, to document and share Black women and individuals’ birth stories in their own words, to raise awareness, influence healthcare policy, and keep birth sacred. We challenge human rights violations, including maternal mortality and near misses, and rebuild confidence in our Black and Brown community’s ability to birth.”
Black Mamas Matter Alliance “Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. We center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.”
Bx Rebirth and Progress “seeks to build alternate solutions outside of the system that protect and honor birthing people in the Bronx and their families. We center Black people in our vision to see ourselves free of systemic inequities by invoking the self-determination of past civil rights leaders. We collaborate with people and programs that are committed to revolutionizing the way we birth in our communities. We strive to return universal dignity and care to the sacred ceremony that is birth through the development of anti-racist, inclusive, and trauma-informed initiatives.” They help get diapers, baby wipes, formula, and access to food for Bronx families in need.
Feeding Black Futures (LA Based)
“We feed Black mamas & caregivers impacted by incarceration in the Los Angeles area.”
4Kira4Moms After Kira Dixon Johnson died after giving birth, 4Kira4moms was “Founded with the mission to advocate for improved maternal health policies and regulations, to educate the public about the impact of maternal mortality in communities, provide peer support to the victim’s family, friends, and promote the idea that maternal mortality should be viewed, and discussed as a human rights issue. 4Kira4Moms is currently calling on Congress to pass H.R.1318…to save and sustain the health of mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and in the postpartum period, to eliminate disparities in maternal health outcomes for pregnancy-related and pregnancy-associated deaths, to identify solutions to improve healthcare quality and health outcomes for mothers. Join the Fight!
Irth App by Kimberly Seals Allers: Kimberly Seals Allers @iamksealallers is a culture change agent and, social commentator and author “on a mission: to question, challenge, disrupt and then reimagine how we talk about birth and breastfeeding and then breaking down the many structural barriers women face in these areas” She created the Irth App, “a yelp-like review and rating app for hospitals and physicians made by and for Black women and birthing people of color.”
Jamaa Birth Village (in Ferguson, Missouri)
Jamaa Birth Village is a non-profit Maternal Health organization located in Ferguson, Missouri serving the greater St. Louis metro area. Through its comprehensive and first of its kind “Equal Access Midwifery Clinic”, Jamaa Birth Village provides culturally based traditional and evidence based Midwifery + Doula care, Perinatal Mental Health Care, Holistic Therapy, Spa Services, Childbirth Education and so much more!…Our goal is to lower prematurity and the infant & maternal mortality/morbidity rates that are significantly higher for Black women through community led and woman centered care.
National Birth Equity Steered by Dr. Joia-Creer Perry @doccrearperry NBEC creates solutions that optimize Black maternal and infant health through training, policy advocacy, research, and community-centered collaboration.
Sakina Midwifery Mentoring Program
Sakina Health is the virtual home of local Certified Nurse Midwife Takiya Sakina Ballard, the community’s midwife. Here, birthing families will receive real, relatable, and reliable information equipping them to become savvy healthcare consumers during their childbearing years.
SaveArose Foundation (started by Amber Rose’s family) “In honor of Amber Rose Isaac. Our mission is to shed light on issues of maternal mortality amongst Black and minority women in the U.S. ✊”
Birth justice is our responsibility. We must take direct action to improve birth outcomes for Black families and actively work to dismantle the systemic racism and implicit bias which is driving the maternal health crisis in the US. These organizations are on the ground in the communities that need our financial and other support to do this critical work.