April 11, 2022 4 min read
In honor of Black Maternal Health Week, a time for advocacy and recognition founded by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, we invite you to learn more about this organization and the fight for equity in Black maternal health.
Meet the Black Mamas Matter Alliance
The Black Mamas Matter Alliance is a Black women-led cross-sectoral alliance. They center Black mamas to advocate, drive research, build power, and shift culture for Black maternal health, rights, and justice.
In June 2018, Angela Doyinsola Aina and Elizabeth Dawes Gay became co-directors of the Alliance and set course on a path towards many milestones. They expanded the alliance to include over 18 Black women-led organizations and implemented the first ever Black Maternal Health Week National Campaign. The campaign included the first Black Maternal Health Conference and Training Institute. Those achievements were all within 2018. As for the progress of the Alliance, they like to say: The rest is Herstory!
The Truth About Black Maternal Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die each year in the United States due to pregnancy or delivery complications. Even more alarming are the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in pregnancy-related deaths. In 2019, Black women are most disproportionately affected with a mortality rate of 44.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to 17.9 deaths per 100,000 live births and 12.6 deaths per 100,000 live births for White and Hispanic women, respectively.
BMMA’s Pledge to the Community
The goal of Black Maternal Health week is driven by both the serious statistical deficits and the real, lived experiences of black mamas across the country.
Change Policy: Introduce and advance policy grounded in the human rights framework that addresses Black maternal health inequity and improves Black maternal health outcomes.
Cultivate Research: Leverage the talent and knowledge that exists in Black communities and cultivate innovative research methods to inform the policy agenda to improve Black maternal health.
Advance Care for Black Mamas: Explore, introduce, and enhance holistic and comprehensive approaches to Black mamas’ care.
Shift Culture: Redirect and reframe the conversation on Black maternal health and amplify the voices of Black mamas.
BMMA in Action: Stories of Success
BMMA’s work with many aligned organizations led to legislation being passed to extend Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 6 months in the state of Georgia. While this is wonderful progress, they are continuing this work so that new mothers can have coverage throughout the entire year following birth.
As an integral partner with the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus (BMHC), BMMA supported the collaborative conversations to bring valuable partners to offer data, testimony, and recommendations to develop the Black Maternal Health Momnibus of 2020 and 2021.
Because of a continued push for strong comprehensive policy, in 2021 we saw a national proclamation for Black Maternal Health Week from the White House, along with a shift in local policies, as state resolutions were issues, laws were signed, and protests rallied for Black Maternal Health from New Mexico and Michigan, to New York and Florida.
Reaching Their 2022 Goal
The ongoing mission of BMMA includes the work that must be done to achieve real health equity in the United States, as well as deepening the national conversation about Black maternal health in the US.
BMMA seeks to amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions. The organization will meet the need to provide a national platform for Black-led entities and efforts on maternal health, birth and reproductive justice.
Throughout their work, BMMA will always focus on centering the voices of Black Mamas, women, families, and stakeholders. As always, in 2022, BMMA aims to enhance community organizing on Black maternal health.
How You Can Help
Currently, donation is the best way to fuel the progress of BMMA. The reasoning behind this is as key to their mission as any statistic.
The Black Mamas Matter Alliance uplifts the work of locally based, black women-led maternal health initiatives and organizations. They honor the work and historical contributions of black women’s leadership within their communities.
BMMA values the need to recognize, amplify, and support this work on a national scale. For this reason, BMMA does not have chapters. The alliance is composed of existing organizations and individuals whose work is deeply rooted in reproductive justice, birth justice, and the human rights framework. Membership within the alliance as a Kindred Partner or Collaborator is on a case-by-case, annual basis.
The Importance of Your Donation
Sponsoring with BMMA in 2022 connects you with care providers, public health professionals and Black Mamas who are working to advance maternal, birth and reproductive justice, and who are interested in learning more about how to work towards health equity using the reproductive justice and birth justice frameworks.
Stay Connected to Stay InvolvedWe encourage people who are committed to advancing Black maternal health, rights, and justice to follow us on social media for ongoing updates and development. You can also sign up to our e-newsletter at blackmamasmatter.org for direct information on upcoming BMMA events, campaigns and initiatives that offer opportunities for deeper engagement.