Friday, September 2, 2016

Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness- Walk Locally, Demand Vocally

OK, I lied.  I'm blogging... but its for a good cause.  In just 23 short days, I will be doing my annual Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness, and I hope you'll join me.  On Saturday, September 24th, we plan to walk 6 miles from Truman Medical Center to Research Medical Center, in recognition that most Uzazi Village clients deliver at one of those two hospitals.  We plan to walk down Troost Avenue, the dividing line between Black and White in our community.  It is not a protest, it is an awareness campaign.  The purpose, as always is to bring awareness to the plight of Black life in America, starting from the day of our births.  Black babies are twice as likely to die before reaching their first birthday as White infants.  I walk to bring awareness of this largely invisible health crisis, and to bring solutions.  So this year, we will be presenting both hospitals with our two new documents: "The Doula Rules; A Guideline for Integrating Doulas into the Facilty-Based Setting" and "Birth Plan for Black Families; Toward Greater Health Equity".  Both offer viable solutions to the horrific social crime of Black infant mortality.This particular health inequity points to the unjust nature of the political, economic, and social injustice in the distribution of healthcare resources.  I encourage others around the country to plan Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness events in their own communities.  Our theme this year is "Walk Locally, Demand Vocally"  We invite our friends, families, and supporters to walk with us.  There may be other events happening in your community.  Events such as the "Improving Birth Rally" happening this Monday (Labor Day).  I encourage activists of color to participate in events such as this, to bring the concerns of our communities to the forefront.  Without our participation, the concerns and issues of our communities will not be a part of the agenda.  A group of local midwives is organizing our Improving Birth Rally this year and Uzazi Village will stand with them- to ensure that voices of color are heard.  It is our women that suffer disproportionately from high cesarean rates and VBAC bans.  We are the ones that cannot access breastfeeding help when it is needed and who are marginalized within the healthcare system. Its is our babies that die, two to one.  Why aren't righting these injustices at the top of everyone's agenda and concerns?  It is our job to make it so.  Plan a walk in your community.  Do a letter writing campaign to the administrators of your local hospital outlining the problem and offering solutions.  Make your voices heard in the policy or political arena.  Tell your stories to legislators.  Have a nurse-in at the state Medicaid office.  Highlight birth practices and practitioners that value Black life and Black business.  Remove it from those who don't.  Send the message that policies need to change in ways that positively impact Black health. If you can't be a part of these activities, send a donation to those who are doing the work.  If you plan an event, please post it on the wall of the Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness page or the Uzazi Village community page.  We want to hear about what you are doing.  Can't join us physically to walk?  Join us for our Walk for Black Infant Mortality Awareness Twitter Chat and Stroll.  We'll be Twittering the entire walk, including our meetings with both hospital administrations.