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.
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
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
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.
Support protests by donating to Bail funds, Mutual Aid Funds and Racial Justice Organizations
Invite your white- privileged friends, family and colleagues to join you in changing the status quo:
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:
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.
The CNMA Board of Directors and Leadership