How Black Maternal Health Week has Impacted Reproductive Justice
Five years ago, Black Mamas Matter Alliance founded Black Maternal Health Week to strengthen its cause in raising awareness about and shifting the plight of Black birthing people.
Today, its movement has the potential to impact future generations with better maternal outcomes.
This week marks the fifth Black Maternal Health Week, a national campaign aimed at deepening the conversation about Black maternal health in the United States.
Angela Aina, BMMA co-founder and executive director, said that over these short years, the organization has collected key wins that help advance Black maternal health and equity.
“Our work is grounded in human rights, reproductive justice and birth justice frameworks, and incorporates respectful maternity care tenets,” she said. “There has been significant progress made as a result of the persistent advocacy of Black women-led organizations like BMMA, the various groups in our alliance, and countless other community leaders and stakeholders that are advancing Black maternal health and equity.”
Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s Impact on Reproductive Rights
BMMA’s work has so far influenced the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, the official recognition of Black Maternal Health Week, several Black Maternal Health Week Resolutions at the state and local levels and the passing of Georgia’s Senate Bill 338, which extends postpartum Medicaid coverage to an entire year.
The Atlanta-based organization has also been involved in the publication of key resources, covering topics such as disrespect and abuse in maternity care and how to center Black mothers in the workplace.
In its short existence fighting maternal mortality, BMMA has empowered many Black women and birthing people with knowledge.
“We intentionally center Black women’s leadership and believe wholeheartedly that Black women have the knowledge, expertise, and skills to generate and implement solutions that will improve maternal health, rights, and justice,” Aina said. “However, there are many Black women and birthing people who lack the platforms necessary to support and amplify their work.”
She added that BMMA is working to address these gaps by cultivating a deep bench of Black women leaders and supporting collaboration with stakeholders working to advance Black maternal health.
Black Maternal Health Week 2022
The theme to this year’s Black Maternal Health Week is building liberation. It brings the outstanding work of Black women to the forefront.
“This theme underscores the critical need to learn about Black feminist and womanist approaches in strengthening wellness structures within our communities and across the Diaspora as a revolutionary act in the pursuit of liberation, and in the global fight to end maternal mortality,” Aina said.