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Sherry Payne leads with a village of perinatal health support in Kansas City

February 12, 2015
Tell us about your work and how it began. I founded Uzazi Village in 2012 after a career as a labor and delivery nurse, and later as faculty teaching maternal infant health. I wanted to have a more direct impact on perinatal (pregnancy-related) health outcomes in my community. I wrote a curriculum to train doulas, started training women from the community, and things took off from there. In two years, we’ve trained almost 40 community women to be doulas, educated countless health care providers (nurses, midwives, and physicians) on the impact of healthcare inequities on the Black community...
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#BlkBFing Next Door: Local changemakers in the African-American breastfeeding movement shine for Black History Month

February 12, 2015
The changemakers featured in this blog carnival are creating a national groundswell for breastfeeding by leading from within their communities and affirming Black families with skill, training, socio-cultural relevance and collaboration.
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The Facebook page that proved black women do breastfeed

February 12, 2015
Tell us about Black Women Do Breastfeed (BWDBF) and how it began. When I had my first child in 2009, I used to turn to the internet to find breastfeeding information and community with other breastfeeding moms. I quickly noticed that there were not many images or stories of modern Black breastfeeding women circulating online. There were a few Black women bloggers discussing breastfeeding among Black women but overall our stories tended to be absent unless they highlighted the racial disparities in US breastfeeding rates. The dominant narrative about Black women and breastfeeding was about how...

Breastfeeding Perspective from Chicago

February 12, 2015
I have been doing this work for a number of years and I truly feel that this is my calling. I started as a young mother, with minimal support. I gained interest when I saw other mothers like me, striving to be good parents. I initially started as an outreach worker, promoting Healthy Start, encouraging mothers to get prenatal care early on, and passing out fliers for free pregnancy tests at local health centers. While this allowed me to help, I didn’t feel as if I was helping enough. Soon, I became a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. I worked and volunteered at various places as a Breastfeeding...
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Oakland's Breastfeeding MAFIA is for support and encouragement

February 12, 2015
Tell us about Breastfeeding MAFIA and how it began. The Breastfeeding M.A.F.I.A (Mothers Against Feeding Infants Artificially) is an organization that was developed in 2008 by a small group of Black peer counselors, Brandi Gates, Allana Samuel, and Djuna Blackmon, looking for a way to provide support and social outlets for exclusively breastfeeding moms without having to deal with the sabotage and politics of our social atmosphere. The Breastfeeding M.A.F.I.A’s goal is to encourage, promote, and support pregnant and lactating women of color who chose to exclusively breastfeed their babies for...
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Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) fulfilling its name in breastfeeding support

February 12, 2015
I still remember the first time I heard about ROSE. I was attending a United States Breastfeeding Committee meeting and several people asked me if I had received a call from Kim Bugg about getting involved with ROSE. At the time, I had no idea who Kim Bugg was and the only roses I’d heard of were a coworker, a distant relative and a flower. When I heard that an organization called ROSE was forming, I must admit that my interest was piqued when I heard that the name was an acronym for Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere and that the group was dedicated to addressing racial inequities in...
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BMBFA reveals "You Don't Know My Story"

February 12, 2015
While data is significant and valued, we also believe that it is important to listen to people's stories. True change occurs with valued relationships, trust and connectedness. Here at BMBFA, we believe in connecting with families on an intimate level. We also try to share our stories through images, blogs and videos. You can support our work by sharing our message widely in your personal and web-based networks. It is our hope that other black women will see these messages and not feel isolated or alone in their experiences but realize that there is a community of support available to help...
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Community Transforming ROSEs provide peer breastfeeding support

February 12, 2015
Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) is a member network that was founded to address breastfeeding disparities among people of color nationwide through culturally competent training, education, advocacy, and support. With a focus on increasing breastfeeding initiation and duration rates, ROSE seeks to normalize breastfeeding by serving as a catalyst that provides resources and networking opportunities for individuals and communities. Our efforts to empower a growing cadre of advocacy-oriented “ROSE Community Transformers” tops the list in our strategic plan to address breastfeeding...
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Doula trainings creating a united front of support for infant feeding

February 12, 2015
Tell us about Ancient Song Doula Services (ASDS) and how it began. Ancient Song Doula Services began the Fall of 2008 after the birth of my first child at home with a midwife and a doula. In my own journey I realized that there wasn't enough information or services around primarily focused on women of color, especially within low income communities. I realized the difficulties I faced being economically stable, having private insurance and being able to find care that spoke to me. So, I decided to create what I thought was lacking at the time. Culturally competent care that allowed a consumer...
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Oregon-based ICTC grows midwives and doulas around the world

February 12, 2015
Tell us about ICTC and how it began. The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) began in 1991 as the first national Black midwifery non-profit organization in the US. We began out of the need for Black midwives to have an organized voice on local, national and international issues that affect the birth outcomes in our communities; to be a beacon to encourage others to train as midwives and a reference to the proud legacy of the African American midwife. The ICTC has a national board and state representatives to support the ICTC mission nationally. We created a culturally...
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