Racism is a public health crisis. In the United States, Black mothers die at three to four times the rate of white women due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Black infants die at more than twice the rate of their white counterparts, and African-American mothers have the lowest breastfeeding rates of any racial/ethnic group. Black families are disproportionately affected by a lack of mandated parental leave in the United States, as they are less likely to have access to paid leave and return to work sooner. Black midwives and infant feeding supporters are also woefully underrepresented in these fields.
Kiddada Green, Founding Executive Director of the Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association and co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week, said recently, “It is a direct disruption of racism to focus on black motherhood.” She also said, “The only allyship is sponsorship. The time has passed for shares, likes, and retweets.” We must use our finances and positions of influence—our privilege—to shine a light on the reality of maternal and infant mortality and infant feeding in the Black Community.
Our Action: Our organization’s vision is to increase human milk feeding rates to reduce racial, economic, and health disparities while promoting the well-being of families and the community. We are committed to listening to and centering Black voices. Health equity is one of our central tenants and we have historically supported Black infant feeding organizations as individuals and as an organization. Our board of directors recently voted to formalize our financial support of equity work. Moving forward, Flourish, Inc. will be contributing 10% of our annual budget to organizations and individuals working toward increasing racial health equity in the fields of maternal health and lactation.
Our Calls to Action for You: DONATE money to vital organizations with Black leadership that are working to increase health equity. EDUCATE yourself about the disparities and inequities between Black and white parents, infants, and families in the United States and then share that knowledge with others. CONTACT your federal legislators to make paid parental leave a reality for American families and ask them to support the Momnibus Act, which directly addresses health inequities for Black mothers.
ENGAGE in conversation and personal reflection, even if it makes you uncomfortable. DONATE more money.