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 breastfeeding on a national level.
After the first few conversations with Kim (also known as Kimarie) Bugg, Chief Empowerment Officer and President of ROSE, I knew that ROSE was an organization into which I was willing to invest time, energy and finances to help it succeed. Kim’s southern charm made it almost impossible to say no to anything she requested (well aside from spending my wedding anniversary attending the first ROSE Summit, but that’s a story too long to tell). With the organization headquarters based in Atlanta, I wasn’t quite sure how much I would be able to do from the DC area. I soon found out just how much you can accomplish from a distance with a reliable internet and phone connection when you share passion for a cause.
It is hard to believe all that ROSE has accomplished since August 2012 when it was originally incorporated just 11 months after the original founders began the organization. From developing a Community Transformer training program that is helping to spread grassroots breastfeeding support throughout communities of color, to participation in several projects across the country aimed at increasing the number of Baby-Friendly designated birthing facilities in areas of greatest need, to organizing an annual Breastfeeding Summit that highlights and disseminates information about the phenomenal work being done across the country to move the needle on historically low breastfeeding rates in communities of color, to organizing a master training aimed at increasing the number of International Board Certified Lactaqtion Consultants of color. ROSE has an aggressive mission that serves as a driving force that motivates the work being done.
While a lot has been accomplished, there is still work to be done. This is where you come in! In order to be successful and sustainable, ROSE needs members and supporters who are able to “put their hands to the plow” and help create the kind of change they want to see. As we work on the infrastructure to allow for the creation of ROSE chapters and affiliates across the United States, we realize there are costs that cannot be absorbed by the grants and contracts we currently have in place for specific programs and projects. If you are reading this and interested in getting involved, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts or contacting us to find out how your skills, talent and passion can be used to help us reach our mission: 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.