Statement of Solidarity
Birthways has welcomed thousands of babies and their parents over the last years. Our aim is simple: to empower, inform and support families so that the rough edges of the transition into parenthood be softened by kindness, compassion and nonjudgmental care. We believe in and work towards creating peaceful beginnings for all babies and parents in our care, which we believe will help ensure babies are born into a peaceful world, both within the room into which they emerge, eyes open and searching but also well beyond the world of their family life. By extension, we believe in making our communities safe and resourced, just as we want every baby to have what they need. We believe that our systems and institutions should be designed in service to the health and wellbeing of all, our planet conducive to all that is life affirming.
As residents of America, we’ve watched with the world as our country fails time and again to ensure peace and integrity to all its citizens. As birthworkers and individuals it’s time to say, “Enough!”
Our community takes a stand against police brutality and white supremacy.
We stand in solidarity with all who grieve.
We stand with and grieve with:
The Black families who have lost loved ones due to the dehumanization and targeting of Black community members.
The children who have been left behind by or separated from parents who are murdered, incarcerated, or detained due to racial profiling and the systematic warehousing of Black adults.
The parents raising their young children who bear witness to innocence lost in the face of racism and systemic violence.
The Black birthgivers who are at increased risk of dying in childbirth or giving birth prematurely due to systemic and individual racism within our healthcare systems.
The Black communities who have been denied equitable access to resources that ensure health, wellbeing and a high quality of life.
The birthworkers who have worked inexhaustibly to provide equity and access for all persons to have the reproductive health care, lactation support, childcare and safe communities they deserve.
We stand and grieve when we say, in unison, “Black Lives Matter.”
As a community, we are supporting local efforts to rebuild and to heal our communities through:
- Holding community conversations and forming an Equity & Inclusion team to inform our future directions and priorities as an organization
- Providing paid volunteer hours for our employees who are able to support the needs of Black and Brown businesses
- Standing with DomesticWorkers.org as we align, and we ask our clients to align, with valuing the work of doula/postpartum care and childcare
- Continuing to support our workers with paid overtime, sick pay, health insurance, travel pay, and other protections and renewing our commitment to adjust wages and our model of care to make the work of caregiving sustainable as we face economic uncertainties
- Supporting families welcoming babies into the world through compassionate and culturally competent care
- Mitigating the spread and effect of Covid-19 on our communities
Just like every parent, Birthways wishes for every child a life of emotional and physical safety; a life of wellbeing and opportunity to live their fullest life, to contribute to the world their unique gifts, to live with respect, ease, and dignity.
Resources and Prominent Black Agencies/Businesses to Support, Donations, Funds Supporting Financial Assistance
Assata’s Daughters: Black feminist collective that organizes young Black people in Chicago by providing them with political education, leadership development training, mentorship, and supportive services.
Black Lives Matter Chicago: Leading community organizing in the fight for racial justice across the city, currently utilizing their network to protect protestors and advocate for those who have been arrested.
Brave Space Alliance: Black- and trans-led LGBTQ center on the south side that provides mutual aid and support groups to QTPOC, leads queer and trans liberation community organizing across the city, and offers anti-racism and restorative justice trainings. During the pandemic, they have been operating a food pantry to keep folks fed.
Chicago Freedom School: Harboring protestors trapped in the Loop and funding rideshares to get people safely home. CFS is a civic engagement organization that provides anti-oppression, social justice, and youth leadership trainings to young people of color.
UMedics: Community-driven Black collective that provides first responder training to people in neighborhoods disproportionately impacted by structural and community violence, equipping people to respond to gunshot wounds, asthma attacks, and other medical emergencies in their communities. (The donation page is currently down, but I’m including here in hopes that it’s soon working again)
Chicago Community Bond Fund: Pays bond for people charged with crimes whose communities cannot afford to pay the bonds themselves and who have been impacted by structural violence, in addition to advocating to end the unjust money bail system. They are currently working to support the more than 1,000 protestors who were arrested in the loop today. (This is the only organization on this list that is not Black-led and they have received an outpouring of donations already. I’m including them here because the work is critical, but I would prioritize other organizations first.)
Minnesota Freedom Fund: Community-based nonprofit that combats the harms of incarceration by paying bail for low-income individuals who cannot otherwise afford it.
Black Visions Collective: BLVC is committed to a long term vision in which ALL Black lives not only matter, but are able to thrive. Through the development of powerful strategic campaigns, they seek to expand the power of Black people across the Twin Cities metro area and Minnesota.
Reclaim the Block: Organizes Minneapolis community and city council members to move money from the police department into other areas of the city’s budget that truly promote community health and safety.
George Floyd Memorial Fund: Official GoFundMe to support the Floyd family.
In Memory of Tony McDade: Official GoFundMe to support the McDade family.
The National Bail Fund Network: National project that works with organizers, advocates, and legal providers across the country that are using, or contemplating using, community bail funds as part of efforts to radically change local bail systems and reduce incarceration.
NAACP: US premier legal organization fighting for racial justice through litigation, advocacy and public education.
Rogers Park Community Response Team Registration: The RP-CRT supports neighbors with groceries, medications, and other needs in Rogers Park. Volunteers will be assigned tasks based on preference, need, and the criteria below.
Conversations with Children
Talking to Children After Racial Incidents
Your Kids Aren’t Too Young to Talk About Race: Resource Roundup
An Essential Reading Guide For Fighting Racism
FOR OUR WHITE FRIENDS DESIRING TO BE ALLIES
For Black leaders integrating mindfulness with anti-racism work, please visit WisdomWay Institute.