Woven's commitment to anti-racism

by Laura Howells
2 min reading time

Black Lives Matter logo, white caps on black blackground, "lives" inverted

It's important that we all speak up now, in this moment, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and in response to heartbreaking recent events which include the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Stephon Clark, Philando Castille, Elijah McClain, and many others.

As I sit down to edit this blog, more avoidable, tragic deaths have been added to that list: as individuals and as businesses we must speak up now and provide change and support where we can. But while this especially is a time to speak up, it's also important that we all ensure we are educated and prepared for the sustained commitment that will be necessary to affect real change.

Systemic racism is a major problem in maternal and infant health

Black women are three to four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy, compared to white women. Their babies suffer an infant mortality rate that more than doubles that of white children, often due to low birthweight, premature birth or complications after birth.[1]

These disparaties have been clearly showed to be because of race: when black women with the same socio-economic position to their white counterparts, they are still 3 to 4 times more likely to die in childbirth.[2] And medical professionals are starting to speak up about some of the contributing factors, like the racist trainings they given by organisations big and small. But there is so much work to do to undo centuries of systems that where built around oppression.

Anti-racism

Anti-racism isn't something that will only be playing a part in my business or my life now, while attention is being drawn to it across the country. I see the importance of the work that is ahead, and I think it's important that I lay out my goals and intentions for Woven, so that I can be held accountable.

Currently, my commitments to my own education and promotion around anti-racism include:

  • Signing up for trainings by people of color
  • Hiring and mentoring people of color
  • Maintaing a need-based sliding scale for people of color
  • Direct financial support to birth and postpartum professionals in training to increase representation in our field
  • Speaking out when I see racism, especially in the trainings I attend and professional groups I belong to
  • Work on trainings for other proffessionals that reinforce inclusivity and clear state problems that need to be tackled everyday
  • Representation in the imagery that I use to support families
  • Working through me and white supremacy for my personal growth

Feedback

I am open to other suggestions, as well as feedback. If you have been hurt or offended by anything that I have said or produced please feel free to reach out directly.

References

  1. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/racial-disparities-persist-for-breastfeeding-moms-heres-why (^)

  2. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html (^)

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Laura Howells (she/her) is an IBCLC and postpartum doula who works with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been happily supporting growing families during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the first years since 2009.

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