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Black Lives Matter

Working as we do in maternal child health, we’ve long seen the disparities in opportunity and outcomes along racial lines.

 

Since we opened 20 years ago our milk donors have been less diverse than our milk recipients, and this is no accident. Though breastfeeding rights have a long way to go in our society, white women are 39% more likely to still be making milk for their child at 6 months. Black women are 3-4X more likely to die while giving birth than white women. And while premature birth can strike anyone, Black babies are 40% more likely to be born premature, which we know increases their risks of extended NICU stays, lifelong disabilities, and even death.

This is, and has always been, a result of historical and present-day systemic injustice. It’s why we give our lifesaving donor human milk to babies with a medical need, regardless of their family’s ability to pay our processing fees. It’s why we ask our supporters for money every year to continue our commitment to never turning a family away. And it’s why we partner with changemakers on the ground. Our Charitable Care Program fundraising is vital to our ability to provide equitable care, but it doesn’t solve the underlying problems causing the inequalities. Black women need access to health care providers trained to care for their bodies. Trained in antiracist practices. Able to provide care in a personal and culturally-relevant environment. Until every mother can give birth in a safe space with expert medical and lactation care, and until every baby is born with the same opportunity to grow and thrive, our work and the health care community’s work isn’t done.

If you’re looking for ways to help, or even if these statistics feel surprising and awkward to hear, we encourage you to learn more about our community partners and the work they’re doing on the ground, a few of which we’ve listed here as a starting point:

There is so much more we can do. Thank you for joining us in this work.

Kim Updegrove, Executive Director

*Stats from: March of Dimes Prematurity Report Card, CDC data

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