Maternal health is a crucial issue that affects women and families around the world. Unfortunately, for Black women in the United States, maternal health outcomes are significantly worse than for their white counterparts. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black Maternal Week, which takes place from April 11 to 17 each year, aims to raise awareness about these disparities and advocate for better maternal health care for Black women.
Black Maternal Week was founded in 2018 by Black Mamas Matter Alliance, a national organization dedicated to advancing Black maternal health, rights, and justice. The week-long observance includes events and activities that focus on various aspects of Black maternal health, from the importance of mental health care to the need for comprehensive reproductive justice.
One of the primary goals of Black Maternal Week is to highlight the systemic and structural factors that contribute to the high maternal mortality rate among Black women. These include racial bias and discrimination in healthcare, lack of access to quality healthcare, and socioeconomic disparities. By bringing attention to these issues, Black Maternal Week seeks to mobilize policymakers, healthcare providers, and communities to take action and address these inequities.
Another key aspect of Black Maternal Week is celebrating the strength and resilience of Black women. Despite facing significant challenges and obstacles, Black women continue to be leaders in their communities and advocates for their own health and the health of their families. Through events such as storytelling circles, virtual rallies, and community gatherings, Black Maternal Week honors the experiences and perspectives of Black women and fosters a sense of community and solidarity.
Black Maternal Week also serves as a platform for advocacy and policy change. The Black Mamas Matter Alliance advocates for policies and practices that support Black maternal health, including increasing access to affordable healthcare, expanding Medicaid coverage, improving maternity care quality, and addressing racial bias and discrimination in healthcare. Through lobbying efforts and partnerships with other organizations, the Alliance works to ensure that Black women have access to the care and resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.
Ultimately, Black Maternal Week is an important observance that shines a light on the urgent need to address the disparities in maternal health care for Black women. By raising awareness about these issues, celebrating the strength and resilience of Black women, and advocating for policy change, Black Maternal Week plays a critical role in advancing Black maternal health, rights, and justice. We must all do our part to support and uplift Black women, particularly during pregnancy and childbirth, to ensure that every woman has the opportunity to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth.