A 2017 CDC report revealed that black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than their white counterparts. Recently, Serena Williams opened up about her own negative childbirth experience and the racial disparities that occur in healthcare, bringing even more awareness to the issues black women face in giving birth.
"Doctors aren't listening to us, just to be quite frank," Williams said not long after giving birth to her daughter. "We're dying, three times more likely. Knowing that going in, there are some doctors not caring as much for us, is heartbreaking."
The Black Mamas Alliance hopes to change that, and plans to launch its first National Black Maternal Health Week this spring.
“The goal of the week is to deepen the conversation around black maternal health and amplify black women leaders who are working on the issue,” Elizabeth Dawes Gay, the steering committee chair of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, said in an interview with Mic.
Organizers will host community events in California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas in an effort to raise awareness about the maternal health racial gaps in care, and come up with solutions on how to close them. The week will feature panels, educational workshops on birth and postpartum yoga and screenings of Death by Delivery, a documentary about black maternal mortality.
Those not able to attend in person will be able to follow things online with the hashtag, #BMHW18.
“I think one of the messages that we’re trying to push through the conversation overall is the role of racism and racial discrimination [on black maternal health] and the importance of acknowledging that and naming that,” noted Gay.
“[The] narrative falls short of explaining the systemic levels of oppression that prevents people from having the [good] health in the first place and a lot of that is race-based exclusion or barriers to economic success, to health care, education, to good neighborhoods and good housing,” Gay continued.
National Black Maternal Health Week will occur April 11 to April 17. For more information on National Black Maternal Health Week, including the scheduled lineup throughout local cities, head to blackmamasmatter.org!