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January 2021 | Newsletter


Happy New Year and Welcome to 2021!

While 2020 was challenging to say the least, it also provided myriad opportunities for transformation. COVID-19 stopped Americans in their tracks, bringing their attention to the systemic racism and inequities built into our nation’s 401 year-old structure of Caste. While transformation can be painful, it is important to remember that the work of tearing down those structures that do not serve us is essential if we are to make room to birth a better and more equitable reality.

"What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor? What if all the mothers who came before us, who survived genocide and occupation, slavery and Jim Crow, racism and xenophobia and Islamophobia, political oppression and sexual assault, are standing behind us now, whispering in our ear: You are brave? What if this is our Great Contraction before we birth a new future? Remember the wisdom of the midwife: “Breathe,” she says. Then: “Push.”"

In solidarity and in love we will continue to do this work. Happy New Year!


SB-1237, The Justice and Equity in Maternity Care Act took effect on January 1!

It’s official! SB-1237 took effect on January 1, 2021, and Certified Nurse-Midwives no longer require physician supervision to practice in California! For more information, please visit


COVID-19 Vaccine for Midwives Working in Community-Based Birth

CNMA is actively working with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to streamline the process for midwives working in the out-of-hospital setting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. At this time, CDPH recommends that community-based midwives reach out to their local health department for specific timelines on vaccine distribution as well as healthcare prioritization of vaccines. This will likely require education and advocacy to help those with decision-making power to understand that community based CNMs are frontline workers and should be prioritized. Please email me directly at to let me know about your successes/challenges with this process, so that CNMA can continue to advocate for your access to the vaccine.


Vaccinating Pregnant and Lactating Patients against COVID-19

ACOG has released a Practice Advisory on offering the COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant and lactating persons. The recommendation at this time is that the vaccine should not be withheld from individuals based on their current reproductive status, and that the principles of shared decision making should be used when counseling patients about the vaccine. Read more.


Spotlight on Anti-Racism

CNMA is working towards becoming an antiracist organization. In 2019 new bylaws were approved that recognize CNMA’s responsibility to actively address racism and the resulting health inequalities suffered by communities of color. Importantly, we must actively support efforts to increase racial diversity in our profession while engaging actively in self-education. “Spotlight on Antiracism” is a new section of the newsletter where you will find a monthly educational offering. We encourage our membership to check it out and share widely in your workplaces.

This month we step back and pause during the holiday season to honor black joy as an act of resistance and to acknowledge it as a necessity to sustainable antiracism work and as a feature of dismantling white supremacy.

So often in the work of antiracism, we can feel overwhelmed with grief, sorrow and helplessness as we highlight inequalities, speak out against violence, and dismantle white supremacy. So many lives lost, so much injustice and inequality can at times move us to action and at other times incapacitate us. If you identify as a white person doing this work you will always be protected from the majority of the pain, as you can pick and choose when to come into and out of this work. But if you are a person of color there is little respite. Scholars and activists grapple with the concept of sustainability in antiracism work and many find that joy and love is a requirement for dismantling white supremacy. Some call this hope, some call this resistance, but the premise is the same. For example, while anti-blackness is a core foundation in the United States, so too is the complete rejection of it, found in the honoring of black joy.

Imani Perry, a Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University says it more eloquently: “Joy is not found in the absence of pain and suffering. It exists through it. The scourges of racism, poverty, incarceration, medical discrimination, and so much more shape

black life. We live with the vestiges of slavery and Jim Crow, and with the new creative tides of anti-blackness directed toward us and our children. We know the wail of a dying man calling for his mama, and it echoes into the distant past and cuts into our deepest wounds. The injustice is inescapable. So yes, I want the world to recognize our suffering. But I do not want pity from a single soul.” She goes on to say, “I must turn the pitying gaze back upon any who offer it to me, because they cannot understand the spiritual majesty of joy in suffering. But my rejection of their account also comes with an invitation. If you join us, you might feel not only our pain but also the beauty of being human.” One of her articles is here.

The creative, writer and educator, Kleaver Cruz is the creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real-world affirmation that Black joy is resistance. They state, “Black joy to me means, being able to say I love and see my people every time we are in one another’s presence.” Kleaver’s work speaks of the effort to “bombard the internet with the joy; the joy is a form of resistance.” You can see Kleaver’s work here.

And watch a short film about black joy here.

We wish you and your family peace and joy this season.


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That's all for this month's issue. Catch you next time!


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