For the second consecutive year, Black Women for Wellness (BWW) will join the Black Mamas Matter Alliance in raising awareness about the vital health issues concerning African-American maternal health and reproductive justice.
Taking place at various locations throughout Los Angeles County, Black Maternal Week runs from April 11 – 17 and will include activities such as a community forum on being pregnant and Black, Black Mamma’s High Tea, a screening of the documentary “Death by Delivery,” a family ‘fun day’ in Grand Park and more. Events are open to the public and provide Black women, families and stakeholders valuable information on how to combat a growing health crisis affecting the Black community. “Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, but what many people don’t understand is that the vast majority of these complications are preventable,” said Janette Robinson Flint, executive director of BWW. “As an organization we are committed to increasing the knowledge and empowerment of Black women and girls. We are extremely excited about joining our kindred partners, organizational members and the community for these very special events.”
Black Maternal Health Week is rooted in national and global events around these important issues. The U.S. recognizes April as National Minority Health Month and the United Nations named April 11 as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. The fight for maternal wellness and birth justice is an international movement with local community impact in Los Angeles and around the world. To help ensure all mothers and infants receive the necessary care to reduce infant mortality and improve the health of mothers and children, especially in communities of color, BWW and its partners are educating Black Maternal Health Week stakeholders on California Senate Bill 464, The Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act.
The campaign and activities for the week serve to amplify the voices of Black mothers and champion the values and traditions of birth justice movements.
Events are as follows:
“To Be Pregnant and Black in 2019”April 12, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, 4030 Crenshaw Blvd. In this event, expectant Black women will share the journey of being Black and pregnant in 2019. Community leaders, advocates and service and medical providers will be able to listen to the experience, concerns and suggestions that support healthy pregnancy and childbearing. Discussion topics include: racism (implicit bias), challenges and solutions for healthy and successful pregnancies and social justice activism. Special guest California State Sen. Holly Mitchell (30th District) will join the conversation, speaking out in support of The Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act.
Black Mamma’s High Tea April 13, 3 to 5 p.m. at The Modern Tea Room, 705 W. Lancaster Blvd, in Lancaster. This event will host new and expectant Black mothers and invite them to sample special teas that support healthy pregnancy, milk supply and womb health. Screening of “Death by Delivery” and panel discussion from 11a.m. to 1 p.m., also at t The Modern Tea Room. The documentary “Death By Delivery” exposes how the U.S. healthcare system has failed and endangered Black mothers and babies. As referenced in the documentary, compared to any other racial or ethnic group in America, Black women are 243 percent more likely to die during labor and Black infant mortality is triple. The panel discussion immediately following the screening will focus on these pressing topics and viable solutions. Panelists will include Pamela Stanley, WIC director at Antelope Valley Hospital. Joy Lavern with the Antelope Valley Birth Center, and Dorelle Arnwine, outreach liaison, Antelope Valley Black Infant Health. Adjoa Jones, associate director of Spa 6 Whole Person Care as part of the L.A .County Department of Public Health, will moderate the discussion. Also on hand will be Raena Granberry, maternal and infant health program manager for Black Women for Wellness.
Black and Botanical Grand Park Family Expedition April 14 from 7:45 to 11:340 a.m. at Grand Park Block One, 200 N. Grand Ave., in Downtown Los Angeles. The morning event will host Black mothers and their families as they meet at BWW and then travel by bus to Grand Park for a day of yoga and outdoor/indoor exploration of the gardens and botanicals. BBW began as a grassroots women-led collaborative joined together in concern for the health and well-being of Black mothers and babies. The organization has for two decades advocated for and has educated African-American women about maternal health, birth and reproductive justice and other concerns specific to the community.
For more information, visit www.bwwla.org or follow BBW on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.