Statement by NOW President Christian F. Nunes
WASHINGTON, D.C.–Today marks the start of Black Maternal Health Week, a time to raise awareness of the shameful health crisis that continues to endanger pregnant Black women. NOW is proud to once again amplify this campaign founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, which focuses on an “Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!” theme for 2023.
As Black women continue to experience maternal health complications and deaths (many times preventable) at an increasingly alarming rate, we must not just call out the discriminatory systems that put these women at risk, but uplift advocates and communities that are working to save lives. All around the country, there are more evidence-based solutions available such as, “Black midwifery care and full spectrum Black-led Doula care” that are culturally appropriate and consider the unique needs of these mothers to keep them – and their children – safe. We must urge our leaders to invest in these resources to combat this crisis that is fueled by ignorance, neglect, and racism.
Black women deserve to feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually empowered – and protected – as mothers, and it is our collective responsibility as a nation to ensure that the right, most effective resources are available to them. This means we must persist in our appeal to those in power to pass real, transformative legislation like the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act to make it clear that Black women’s lives matter.
We cannot allow this shameful and horrific crisis to continue and we urge you to work within your communities to raise awareness around maternal and birth justice. As a member of NOW, we hope you will join us – and the Black Mamas Matter Alliance – to support crucial advocacy efforts to save lives.
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