Today is the last day of Black Maternal Health Week, that is designed to help shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the fight for Black women’s maternal and reproductive justice. This People magazine article brought it to our attention and while we are truly sad that this type of “week” is even necessary, we are glad that it is bringing all people into awareness about this disparity and increasing problem. We want to make sure we continue to help shed light on this as a problem that is very real here in Austin, as noted and described by the local movement and gathering of Black Mamas ATX.
In effort to increase awareness of this problem, we want to bring attention to the facts:
-“Black mothers in Texas are dying at a rate 2.3 times as high as white mothers regardless of income, education, marital status, or other health factors,” stated Michele A. Rountree, Ph.D., a local professor at UT Austin, in a recent Op-Ed published by the Corpus Christi Caller Times.
-Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to suffer pregnancy-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
-Black babies in the U.S. are twice as likely to die in their first year of life than white babies, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based research group.
-“Black women are also more likely to have a stillbirth, give birth prematurely, have low birth-weight infants, have a miscarriage even. There are a lot of challenges that folks are dealing with,” Black Mamas Matter Alliance co-director Elizabeth Dawes Gay tells PEOPLE. “It boils down to toxic stress, racism in society, in the healthcare setting, disparities in access to care. There’s a lot of work to do. I think we will see a change but it is going to take a long time.””
We really want to be part of seeing this change (as mentioned above), even if it is going to take a long time. We want to actively participate in dismantling racism in our society and we want to help reduce the disparities in access to quality healthcare. We want to hopefully help to reduce the toxic stress that Black Mamas have to deal with at all times, but especially in pregnancy and labor and delivery.
You may be asking — what more can I do? Will reading or sharing a blog post really change anything? Beyond this specific Black Maternal Health Week, let’s keep paying attention to what local Black Mamas are saying and keep supporting them by supporting local organizations in Austin that provide free and high quality prenatal care and labor support!
Here are few LOCAL Austin organizations that we recommend following on Facebook and getting involved with by sharing your support, money, and/or time:
–Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas
Join us if you want to help too! Please share or like this post to help spread awareness about the fact that these facts are true even here locally for a lot of our fellow readers and friends.