Let us be clear: the same systemic racism that led to the abhorrent killing of George Floyd last week also helped create the Black maternal health crisis in America.
Black babies are two times more likely to be stillborn in America than white babies. Every year we lose nearly 7,000 Black babies in the final weeks of pregnancy.
One out of every 94 Black pregnancies ends in stillbirth.
What could these babies have become?
Could they have cured cancer?
Won the Nobel Peace Prize?
To get more babies of color here safely, and for them to have promising futures, they need the very best start. Here’s part of the solution:
- America needs to create a pathway to produce more doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas of color
- Health care providers need to listen to and address the concerns of Black women at every visit
- America needs a health care system that invites all Black women to seek affordable, quality care
The experiences of America’s Black expectant mothers must reflect the better world they deserve to live in. At Healthy Birth Day, Inc. the nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign to prevent stillbirths, our work to reduce the racial disparities that persist in birth outcomes started by listening to women of color. We will continue to listen and learn from them.
We will continue to center women of color. We will elevate stories like those of Dana Morrison who saved her baby by speaking up when she noticed a change in movement.
We will continue to amplify the stories of people like Rev. Stephaney Moody who helped save her granddaughter Luna and leads our faith-based efforts with Black houses of worship in our home state of Iowa.
We will continue our intentional outreach to communities of color through campaigns like Feel the Beat, showing a strong Black couple who saves their baby by paying attention to her movements and speaking up when they noticed a change.
We hope to be a part of the solution, but we definitely don’t have all the answers. That’s why we look toward partner organizations and women of color to lead us, like our friends at the Black Women’s Health Imperative. We ask you to learn more about their work to improve the health of Black women by clicking on this link.
Our work is just beginning. We need your help to fix what is broken. Join us by advocating for women of color, work to reduce the race disparities that persist in stillbirth and help promote the solutions we listed above. We must all find the courage to not be silent. Thank you for supporting this work.