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September 2020 Spotlight on Anti-Racism

Tenant of White Supremacy Culture by Tema Okun

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.

Last month we explored white privileges with the classic, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by Peggy McIntosh. This month we recommend our members go deeper by exploring the tenants of white supremacy culture and their antidotes in Tema Okun’s work: white supremacy culture. This is again a classic work, first developed in 2001 the concepts continue to be deeply relevant & is also a very quick read.

As you engage with the reading we invite you to explore how you see the tenants of white supremacy culture: perfectionism, sense of urgency, defensiveness, quantity over quality, worship of the written word, only one right way, paternalism, either/or thinking, power hoarding, fear of open conflict, individualism, i’m the only one, progress is bigger/more, objectivity, and right to comfort show up in your family in your practice, in CNMA and in ACNM and consider how you can best shift these tenants when you see them show up!

CNMA Stands with the Black Lives Matter Movement - We Demand Justice for Jacob Blake.

Last week, another Black man was shot by police in an act of state-sanctioned, racist violence. Jacob Blake's life matters, and we stand in solidarity with Jacob in his fight to heal, with his children and family as they are dealing with this trauma, and with our Black sisters and brothers across this country. But our thoughts and prayers are not enough.

Here in California, non-Black midwives of all racial identities must work nationally and locally to prevent and mitigate the harm experienced by our Black family, friends, colleagues and community members. We must examine ourselves through reflection, humility, and honesty to recognize how each of us participates in racism, and then interrupt those patterns of white supremacy within ourselves.

We can take simple actions today: remaining vigilant to the obvious or subtle injustices experienced by the clients we serve so that we can effectively advocate for our clients both clinically and within our communities. We can create space for our clients to express their frustration and pain at what is (and has been) happening in our country. We can offer evidence-based strategies to help heal the trauma caused by toxic racism that we know increases risks for mortality and morbidity. We can put our bodies and our time on the line by joining in protests with Black Lives Matter. We can donate money and resources to the Black-led organizations that are doing this work. We must also commit to the long term practice of antiracism work. We must do the hard internal work to uproot unrecognized bias and to commit to diversification of our profession. And we can listen to the voices of Black midwives and follow their leadership.

Michelle Drew, DNP, MPH, CNM, FNP-C, the Chair of the ACNM Caucus of Black Midwives for Reproductive Justice, recently posted the following message on ACNM Townhall.We encourage all our members to read “We're so Tired Thoughts for our Wisconsin Colleagues.”

Michelle and others on the Caucus are working within ACNM to advocate for Black midwives, and for the Black families and individuals we all serve. If you identify as a Black midwife, please consider joining the Caucus. They are leaders in the work that our profession so desperately needs.

Take action today:

Call local officials and demand justice:

Kenosha City Attorney: 262-653-4170

Kenosha Mayor and City Administration: 262-653-4000

Wisconsin Department of Justice: (608) 266-1221

Kenosha Police Non Emergency Line: 262-656-1234

Commit to Long Term Antiracist Action and self reflection:


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