By Alexa Spencer,
Word in Black
Every day is a good day to honor Black women. They birth the Black community (even in the most difficult conditions), raise up world leaders and change-makers, and devote their lives to creating and advocating solutions.
While Black mamas are known for protecting everyone, folks are now gathering to protect them.
Here, along with a bit about what they do, are some words of encouragement for Black women from five solutions-oriented organizations working to secure reproductive justice, mental and physical health, and social power.
1. Black Women for Wellness
Black Women for Wellness is a Los-Angeles based woman-centered organization working on reproductive justice issues as they impact Black women and girls. The organization is committed to healing, supporting, and educating them through health education, empowerment, and advocacy.
The organization’s executive director, Janette Robinson Flint, wants Black mothers to rejoice over the spectrum of their unique experiences.
“We should remember to take a moment to celebrate Black joy and to celebrate the trials and tribulations, the fear, but the triumph and joy of being a Black mama.”
2. The Black OB/GYN Project
The Black OB/GYN Project is a collective of Black obstetric gynecologists navigating residency while promoting anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. As Dr. Arthurine Zakama, a member of the collective said:
“To Black women and people with the capacity to give birth: you are the powerful, gentle, kind, and compassionate healers of your community. We need you. I hope you feel surrounded by love today and every day because you deserve it!
It is an honor to provide care for you and witness your journey to parenthood. I am privileged to serve our community in this way. You inspire me daily to fight for us: for our safety, freedom, and dignity!”
3. Mamatoto Village
Based in Washington, D.C., Mamatoto Village is an organization supporting Black women by creating careers in maternal health and providing perinatal support services to help mothers make informed decisions in maternity care, parenting, and beyond.
Mamatoto offers breastfeeding consultations and pregnancy and postpartum care provided by community birth workers. Cassietta Pringle, Mamatoto’s co-founder and lactation program manager reminds us:
“Mother’s Day is every day. Our little ones honor us and celebrate us all the time without the world knowing. Those little smiles and the twinkle in the eyes that’s just for us. That palpable feeling of relief that comes over them when you are available to give them an embrace — no one hugs like your mama! Mudpies in the yard, piles of Legos on the floor, scribbles on paper all awaiting your loving approval and attention. You are one of their most important people. They let you wipe their runny noses, and dry their tears on your shirt,” said Pringle. “They give you sticky kisses, and of course take up ALL the space in your bed because they want you, want to hear your voice and are so in love with your special bond; mama, they like everything about you just the way you are. Thank God for the little ones who tell us how special we are every day.”
4. The Shades of Blue Project
The Shades of Blue Project is a non-profit organization focused on improving maternal mental health outcomes for Black and Brown birthing people. The Houston-based organization offers online support groups for people who are teen moms, single moms, experiencing infant loss, navigating pregnancy or postpartum, or identifying as LGBTQ+.
They’re in the process of establishing a Maternal and Mental Health Resources Center in North Houston that will offer social support services, job placement skills, onsite therapy sessions, and more. Founder Kay Matthews said:
“I want you to know that there is someone always rooting for you to conquer all the obstacles that come your way. We are sending nothing but positive vibes into the atmosphere daily for the person who gets to experience motherhood on a daily, the mother whose baby lives in heaven, and the person who longs to have her own children. ‘Mother’ means to nurture and that includes nurturing yourself so don’t forget about YOU.”
5. In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda focuses on uplifting the voices of Black women leaders at the national and regional levels in the fight for reproductive justice. Located in Washington, D.C., In Our Voice centers its advocacy on abortion access, COVID-19, clean water, economic rights, racial justice, healthcare access, LGBTQ+ liberation, quality education, voting rights, and maternal health. As they wrote in an email:
“We want all Black mothers — of every age — to know that the Reproductive Justice movement has your back! We are fighting every day for Black women and families to have the resources and freedom to live their lives in safety and with dignity. We stand in awe of our Black mothers, who raised us to meet the most difficult challenges and to overcome seemingly insurmountable barriers. Thank you Black mothers for having the optimism to raise us, the courage to protect us, and the wisdom to teach us to keep on keeping on until we achieve our goal of equal rights and justice.”
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