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Black Maternal Health Week shines light on reproductive justice

The theme for this year is: “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families and Black Systems of Care.”
Credit: Prostock-studio - stock.adobe.co

FLORIDA, USA — The week of April 11 annually marks "Black Maternal Health Week" to help bring awareness, activism and community building to reproductive justice.

Spearheaded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance — a Black women-led organization seeking to advocate and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights and justice — the week seeks to accomplish the following: 

  • Deepen national conversations about Black maternal health.
  • Amplify community-driven policy, care solutions and research.
  • Provide a national platform for Black-led entities and efforts on maternal health and reproductive justice.
  • Center the voices of Black mothers, women, families and stakeholders.

"The campaign and activities for Black Maternal Health Week serve to amplify the voices of Black Mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements. Activities during BMHW are rooted in human rights, reproductive justice, and birth justice frameworks," the group's website reads. 

The theme for this year is: “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families and Black Systems of Care.” 

While 2022 will mark the fifth annual Black Maternal Health Week, it's only the second year that the effort has been recognized with a presidential proclamation. Both proclamations were issued by President Joe Biden.

"This maternal health crisis is particularly devastating for Black women, who are more than three times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women, regardless of their income or education," Biden said.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Biden administration has championed policies to improve maternal health and equity. 

The National Institutes of Health reports rates of maternal morbidity and mortality (MMM) are much higher in the U.S. than in its "peer nations" and that national severe maternal morbidity (SMM) has nearly doubled in the past decade. Data shows that rate spiked more than 166-percent in incidences of SMM for Black women than white women from 2012 to 2015.

You can take part in a range of events for Black Maternal Health Week through April 17. A list from the Black Mamas Matter Alliance can be found here.

The alliance also offers a list of resources like products, a toolkit and literature. Direct access to those resources can be found here.