I don’t know about you, but the recent events here in the USA rattled my soul and have me listening, researching, and reflecting. 🙏🏻🙏🏽🙏🏾🙏🏿
Doing so, I came across this image of George Floyd in his mother’s arms.
A young George Floyd with his mother Larcenia Floyd
George’s mom’s face says it all… she’s literally beaming as she holds her pride and joy.
We all have a picture like this… us holding our precious babies and smiling from ear to ear.
It breaks my heart to think that other mamas out there, mamas in our community, are holding their babies right now and worrying that their child could become the next George Floyd.
In his last moments on Earth, George called out to his now deceased mother: “Mama… I’m through!” 😭
He was reaching out to that powerful #mamaheart that loves and comforts all.
It has me wondering, “how can we tap into that mama heart to help heal our country?”
I don’t have answers, just a few ideas… and I welcome yours, always.
1. Start in the home 🧍❤️🧍🏾
One of the simplest ways to make an impact on racism is in the home. I love this helpful article by Embrace Race, a non-profit started by two parents (one black, one multiracial) that gives tips on raising anti-racist kids (hint: you don’t have to be an expert or have all the answers!). Here are some of their recommendations:
- Start early and let your child know it’s perfectly ok to notice different races and skin colors. This isn’t about being “color blind.”
- Encourage your child to ask questions or share observations about other races.
- Expose your child to different cultures through photographs, movies, books, or cultural events.
- Be mindful. You are a role model and what you say is important, but what you do – the diversity of your friendship circle, for example – is going to have a bigger impact.
- Be honest with your child about your own prejudices. Give your child an example of a bias, racial or otherwise, that you hold or have held (we all have them). Share the things you do to confront and overcome that bias.
- Take pride in your heritage. Share stories of your ancestors and talk about their contributions and strengths, and areas where they could have done better.
- Learn about the histories and experiences of other cultures and races too… African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and whites, among others.
- Lift up the freedom fighters: Tell stories of people overcoming adversity both male and female.
2. Know that stats 👩🏾⚕️
By most measures, the US holds the worst records for maternal and infant mortality in the developed world, and for African Americans the stats are particularly alarming.
African American Maternal Mortality Racial Disparities
African American Infant Mortality Racial Disparities
This isn’t necessarily a poverty issue, as babies born to educated, middle-class black mothers are more likely to die before their first birthday than poor white babies born to mother’s without a high school education.
Similarly, black college-educated mothers who gave birth in local hospitals were more likely to suffer severe complications of pregnancy or childbirth than white women who never graduated from high school.
While lifestyle factors and genetics play a part, these statistics are also tied to institutional racism. In the 2017 survey Discrimination in America: Experiences and Views of African Americans, nearly 33 percent of the black women said that felt prejudice at some point during their prenatal or postnatal care. And a 21 percent of black women said they avoided their doctor, at least once, out of fear of prejudice.
3. Help black mamas and babies 🤰🏽🖤🤱🏾
So what can we do about it? We all have our spheres of influence, passion points, and unique voices.
For the past 5 years, Mama Natural has donated 10% of our birth course income to midwifery clinics in the developing world serving women of color, but I realize now that this is not enough. We want to do more. We want to help improve birth outcomes for black women in the U.S.
We know that, in low-risk pregnancies, midwifery care produces superior outcomes for mamas and babies, so part of the solution may be to have more midwives and birth workers of color serving women of color in America. So we’re thinking of ways that we can help make that a reality through scholarship funding, partnerships, etc.
I am also adding a module to our birth course educating mamas, particularly black women, on specific health risks and symptoms to look out for during pregnancy and postpartum. I believe this information will be helpful to all students.
Have any other ideas?
If you have ideas on how we as a community or Mama Natural as a company can help, I’d love to hear from you. Just comment down below and let me know.
Love and peace to you, 🙏🏻
PS – this message originally appeared in my free weekly email, Three Things for Thursday. You can sign up for it here.