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Postpartum Justice Summit

  • Museum of the African Diaspora 685 Mission Street San Francisco, CA, 94105 United States (map)

BUY TICKETS (EVENT WAS SOLD OUT - THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! We will post videos of the Summit soon.) For photos and evaluation of the Summit: HERE.

Presented by MoAD chef-in-residence Bryant Terry and Mothers-to-Mothers Postpartum Project

We are in a crisis.

With U.S. black maternal mortality and morbidity risks worsening while other nations are experiencing improvements, we need a paradigm shift now, more than ever. The Postpartum Justice Summit, organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora in partnership with UC Berkeley’s Mothers to Mothers Project, will join with the Bay Area community to learn from and engage with some of the leading thinkers, doers, and community organizers in the maternal health field. As a community, we will envision our future and the fearlessness it will take to confront sexism, racism, individualism, and capitalism that perpetuate maternal deaths. This groundbreaking event will feature panels and breakout sessions lead by experts and community participants in the fields of research, policy-making, storytelling, women empowerment, and postpartum traditions. 


Dani McClain is a contributing writer with The Nation and author of We Live for the We - The Political Power of Black Motherhood.

Latham Thomas is a celebrity birth doula and author of Mama Glow: A Soulful Guide to Luminous Living and Crowning the Queen Within.


The afternoon breakout sessions will be led by Doula Helen Arega (UCSF, Black Women Birthing Justice), Doula Angelita Borbon (SisterWeb), Activist Starr Britt (Roots of Labor Collective), Activist Brittni Chicuata (SF Human Right Commission), Doula Dominique Hernandez (Mothers to Mothers), Doula Lyanne Jordan (Maroon Calabash), Author Michele Lee (Working the Roots), Coordinator Therese McCluskey (Alameda County Perinatal Services), Activist Fabiola Santiago (PL+US), Dr. Karen A. Scott (Director, California Birth Equity Collaborative), Dr. Sara Whetstone (OB-GYN UCSF), and Activist Makia White-Goines (California Birth Equity Collaborative. (Names of organizations are for identification purpose only.)

Session 1: Black Maternal Health Equity (Moderated by Dr. Karen Scott)

The purpose of the session is to amplify the voices, knowledge, and lived experiences of Black birthing people, Black birth workers, and Black women scholars in dismantling gendered racism and advancing health equity in quality improvement, research, and public health agendas. Panelists will discuss solutions to move from mother/individual blame and disparities/deficit framework to systems accountability and resiliency and resistance for and with Black birthing people, birth workers, and women scholars.

Session 2: Current Fights for Justice (Moderated by Dominique Hernandez)

The paradigm shift that we seek in maternal health will only come when mothers have a seat at the table where discussions are made and policies are created. In this session, we will highlight activists who are fighting for a national paid family leave policy, the provision of doula services to all low-income birthing people and the building of birth justice collectives in the Black community.

Session 3: Forging a New Postpartum Culture (Moderated by Lakia Davis)

We as human beings are here today because of successful postpartum practices through the millennia. We will distill the wisdom of these traditional practices to forge a new postpartum culture that is based on justice and equity. How do we build an intergenerational, women-led and nourishment-based postpartum support system that breaks down isolation, celebrated breastfeeding and provides day-to-day care for new parents?