Updated: Jun 6

Subject: CNMA Affirms Black Lives Matter

Dear CNMA Membership,

It has been eleven days since George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis Police. We say his name to honor his humanity and we take action to honor his legacy. We take action in his name and in the name of the countless other Black men, women, trans and non-binary folks who have lost their lives or loved ones to white supremacy enacted as police violence. We take action in the names of the Black and Brown people who did not die but were traumatized by the personal experience of excessive force of the police. We take action in the names of the Black and Brown people who are traumatized by the excessive force of the police on their parents, siblings, family members and friends.

We recognize that police violence is just one of the manifestations of white supremacy and racism experienced by our Black and Brown family, friends, colleagues, clients and community members. As midwives we recognize the underlying connection between the racism-based disparities in maternal child health care and the racism-based disparities in police violence. Further, we recognize the underlying connection between the racism-based disparities found in reproductive health, education, policing, wealth, housing and the racism in our own professional legacy. We recognize that the fact that our profession is >90% white is rooted in this same racism and harms our colleagues of color and our clients of color.

The status quo is actively harming Black and Indigenous people of color. As a community we are committed to change because none of us are free until we are all free. We also recognize that racism is a deeply entrenched complex system and change requires that we all work together for the long haul. Our aim in sending this message is to build on the momentum of the moment and offer guidance to our white and white- privileged membership on how we can actively engage in the necessary and vital work of anti-racism.

We encourage our white and white- privileged members to take action. Here is a list of actions to help you get started. Pick one to do today:

Self-Reflection: In order to disrupt the status quo, we must understand the ways in which we participate in upholding and maintaining the status quo. Here are three simple options to help with self-reflection. Pick one and start this week.

  1. Engage with a Workbook: Me and White Supremacy: A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too

  2. Watch a Video: Dr. Robin DiAngelo reads from her book "White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," explains the phenomenon, and discusses how white people can develop their capacity to engage more constructively

  3. Listen to a podcast: Seen on Radio: Seeing White Events of the past few years have turned a challenging spotlight on White people, and Whiteness, in the United States. This series explores what it means to be White.

Support Black Led Anti-Racism and Reproductive Justice Organizations: Make donations or volunteer with black led organizations. Give what you can: $10, $100, $1,000: Every contribution counts.

  1. National Organizations:

  2. Sister Song

  3. Black Mamas Matter Alliance

  4. Black Lives Matter

  5. California Organizations

  6. Black Women for Wellness

  7. Anti-Police Terror Project

  8. Oakland - http://blackorganizingproject.org/about/

  9. LA - https://www.blmla.org/

  10. Central Valley – http://www.wfresnofrc.org

  11. Sacramento - http://www.blacklivesmattersacramento.com

  12. Support local Black-led organizations in Minneapolis:

  13. Black Visions Collective - https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/

  14. Reclaim the Block - https://www.reclaimtheblock.org/

  15. Support protests by donating to Bail funds, Mutual Aid Funds and Racial Justice Organizations

  16. Split a donation between 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers

Invite your white- privileged friends, family and colleagues to join you in changing the status quo:

  1. How to respond to “riots never solve anything!”

  2. Talk to your children about racism. The Oakland Public Library has a great collection of resources of age appropriate books for kids

  3. Connect with your local racial justice group for white allies: Showing Up For Racial Justice has groups around the state and the Nation

Contact public officials and demand a divestment from police and investment in black communities:

  1. Actions for George Floyd

  2. Actions for Breonna Taylor

  3. Take Action to DEFEND BLACK LIFE

  4. The Movement for Black Lives

CNMA humbly recognizes this is also our work to do as an organization.

In November of 2018 we started The CNMA Reproductive Justice Anti-Racism Committee which aims to address structural racism within CNMA and develop opportunities to redress the harm caused by racism within midwifery and our larger community. In 2019 we changed our bylaws giving the Chair of Reproductive Justice Anti-Racism Committee a voting position on the Board. We also created two new positions on the Board. The aim of these positions is to ensure we have members on the board who can speak to concerns, issues and needs faced by specific communities of midwives or the communities that are served by those midwives. And to support CNMA’s work toward increasing the Board’s skill set around reproductive justice and anti-racism work. At the 2019 Annual Meeting, we invited Elephant Circle to provide an anti-racism training for our leadership and some members the day before our annual meeting. We are committed to continuing to work to undo racism within our organization, our profession and our communities.

In Solidarity,

The CNMA Board of Directors and Leadership

Hello midwives!

Please help us get the word out about our bill.

We have uploaded a few important documents for you to view and share. The first is a document containing research for SB1237 and the second is a SB1237 factsheet.

In addition there are three letters of support for you to pass out to your colleagues and coworkers. They are written for CNMs, MDs, and RNs.

Please help get these support letters out to members of our community.

View these documents here!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 SACRAMENTO – Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, and Assemblymember Autumn Burke, D- Inglewood, today announced legislation to improve access to high-quality maternity care in California.  The proposal, sponsored by the California Nurse-Midwives Association and Black Women for Wellness, also would curb disparities in outcomes for black women and infants and counter the obstetrician shortage – projected to be critical in some counties by 2025. “California is the fifth-largest economy in the world, and no woman in our state should go without top-notch maternity care,” said Sen. Dodd. “By increasing access to nurse-midwives, we can improve outcomes for mothers and babies, especially those in rural or inner-city settings. The disparity in outcomes for women of color is absolutely unacceptable and my bill will help address that disparity.” “Women in California deserve high quality care and the choices in childbirth that nurse-midwives offer,” said Kathleen Belzer, CNMA president. “It is time to remove unnecessary requirements that simply create barriers. The data is clear that the status quo is not serving the lives of women and infants.”

Senate Bill 1237 would expand access to care by authorizing nurse-midwives to conduct routine services without direct physician supervision, following the lead of 46 other states. California’s current model has not been shown to increase the safety or quality of maternity care. States that allow autonomous practice within a more integrated, collaborative model between physicians and midwives show significantly lower rates of cesarean, preterm birth, low birth-weight infants and neonatal death. Nurse-midwives perform 50,000 births a year in California, and Sen. Dodd’s bill will result in more women gaining access.Despite significantly reducing the maternal mortality rate in California, experts from the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative report that black women in California still die at a rate that is 3-4 times higher than white women during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Furthermore, babies born to black women were more than three times as likely to die of a preterm, birth-related issue as babies born to white women in 2017. National and international organizations including the March of Dimes and the World Health Organization have stated that improved access to midwives is one of the necessary and innovative strategies to reduce and eventually eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant outcomes.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has stated that the obstetric workforce crisis cannot be abated without the help of nurse-midwives in a model of integrated, collaborative care. In 2018, ACOG released a new version of their Joint Statement of Practice Relations which highlighted the critical shortages and misdistribution of maternity care providers, and called for autonomous practice for nurse-midwives under a model of team-based care. SB 1237 is being introduced during the World Health Organization’s Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and on the heels of recent statements by leading patient advocacy organizations,  including the March of Dimes, California Health Care Foundation, and the Pacific Business Group on Health, calling for the immediate reduction in regulatory barriers to nurse-midwifery practice and greater investment in California’s nurse-midwifery workforce.

###Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties. More information on Senator Bill Dodd can be found at www.senate.ca.gov/dodd.