The last few days have been gut-wrenching. Like so many others, we mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black people whose lives have been cut short by white supremacy, racism and the violence they engender. Nurture stands in solidarity with protestors in Richmond and across the country who are spotlighting the systemic racism that has infected our collective body for generations.
The compounded effects of systemic racism and a global pandemic are real and overwhelming. Prior to COVID19, Black mothers were already dying at 3 – 4 times the rate of white mothers, and Black babies were twice as likely to die before their first birthday. The COVID19 pandemic has only exacerbated health inequities and health disparities resulting from systemic racism. Black citizens are dying from COVID19 at three times the rate of our white citizens. And in their attempt to reduce the risk of infection, some of our health care systems have implemented protocols that prevent birthing parents from having their families and support team with them, which places Black families at greater risk for harm. The responsibility for changing these statistics belongs to all of us. We are being called to learn new ways of being with ourselves and each other.
Immediate actions we can take include educating ourselves about racism and anti-racism as well as barriers to equity that impact pregnant and new parents. Here are some resources we are using:
- Anti-Racist Resources
- 75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice
- Black Maternal Health Reading List from Every Mother Counts
- The Center for WorkLife Law
Supporting black-led nonprofits and businesses is another way to promote equity. Because Nurture’s focus is pregnancy, birth, and early parenting in the Richmond area, we have listed local organizations that are operating in the same space and/or that offer services for issues known to negatively impact pregnant/postpartum families, such as domestic violence or incarceration. This list is by no means exhaustive: please consider supporting these and other black-led organizations in your local community:
- Birth in Color RVA
- Richmond Doula Project
- Urban Baby Beginnings
- Real Life Foundation
- Carol Adams Foundation
Birth & Early Parenting Focused Businesses/Providers:
Building an equitable and just culture is a marathon not a sprint. In the long term, advocating for policies such as paid family leave, affordable childcare and early education, breast/chestfeeding support, and perinatal mental health support at local, state, and federal levels is necessary to eliminate health and economic disparities for families of color. Learn more about policies that promote equity for families here:
As mothers and birthworkers, we have witnessed the powerful transformation that can occur during the birth process, especially when our strengths and vulnerabilities are validated and supported. The often chaotic experience of birth and early parenting can be a time of intense learning, as our brains, bodies, and hearts rewire themselves for the hard work of parenting. May the disruptions and discomfort we are currently experiencing provide opportunities for transformative change in our collective body, so that we build a community that is truly just, equitable, and safe for all of our citizens.
If you have suggestions for us, please let us know in the comments. We’re listening.
April Fraser, Board President
Malikah Karim, Director
Melicent Miller, Director
Cheyenne Varner, Director
Leslie Lytle, Executive Director
Shakeya Lewis, CLC, Social Media Manager
Cait Minnick, Administrative Assistant