The CNMA Reproductive Justice and Antiracism Committee
The Reproductive Justice Antiracism Committee is conceived to be the first of a number of affinity groups, designed to work together towards a shared goal of Reproductive Justice.
The CNMA Reproductive Justice - Antiracism Committee and Workgroup
The Reproductive Justice Advisory group is conceived as a home for a number of affinity groups, designed to work together towards a shared goal of Reproductive Justice.
The Antiracism Committee & Workgroup is the first Reproductive Justice Affinity group and is responsible for supporting CNMA to become an organization that is composed of racially diverse and anti-racist leadership and membership. We aim to diversify the midwifery workforce, and addresses the racism-based disparities in reproductive health care and promotes access to anti-racist training and education for all California midwives.
CNMA’s Antiracism Platform: This is a living document and illustrates our commitment to operationalizing antiracism and equity work. This document describes our ideas and plans for the near term.
Steps CNMA has taken towards becoming an antiracist organization: We recognize that as a professional organization representing a profession that is over 90% white and with roots in leadership by people who actively stood for white supremacy, we have a lot of work to do to become an antiracist organization. Consider this page our accountability page where we share the steps we’ve taken as an organization to be in alignment with our commitment to antiracism.
Spotlight on Antiracism: is a segment offered monthly in our newsletter that provides antiracism education and action steps.
Foundation & Guiding Principles
The committee and workgroup are grounded in the framework of Reproductive Justice.
“Reproductive Justice is the human right to have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments. Over the years,... RJ [has been expanded] to include the human right to bodily autonomy from any form of reproductive oppression.”
- Sistersong, Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective
We have chosen this framework because it most clearly captures our role as reproductive healthcare workers engaged in anti-oppression and liberation work. As a human rights framework it describes and holds the intersections of gender inclusivity, economic justice, immigration justice, police justice, and environmental justice.
As a group, we honor and respect the foundations of the Reproductive Justice movement. We honor and give thanks to the 12 Black women who coined the term in 1994, while attending the Illinois Pro-Choice Alliance Conference in Chicago, informed by their recent participation as members of the women of color delegation to the UN’s International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt. We pay special tribute to Loretta Ross and Toni Bond Leonard who continue to shepherd this movement with their wisdom, time, brilliance and effort. We honor and give thanks to the original coalition of 16 organizations representing women from Native American, African American, Latinx, and Asian American communities who came together to form the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective in 1997. We recognize that the movement has always centered the leadership of women of color, especially Black women. We recognize that the analysis and movement were developed to reflect, uplift, recongize and fight for the reproductive health needs of women of color, women who are poor, transgender people, and others who are ignored by the dominant reproductive health “pro-choice” movement, led by middle and upper-class white, cisgender women. We affirm the “human right to maintain personal bodily autonomy, have children, not have children, and parent the children we have in safe and sustainable communities.” (Sister Song)
We engage in this work with humility, recognizing that like the history of our country, the history of professional midwifery organizations is tarnished with policies and actions which reinforce white supremacy. CNMA does not want to continue on a path of racism, abelism, heteronormativism, xenophobia, transphobia, classism, and other forms of oppression. This advisory group was established to support CNMA to interrupt these systems of oppression, and to direct CNMA’s organizational alignment to create a more just and equitable midwifery profession and world.
We understand that while race is a social--not biological--construct, racism is real and does have biological impact, which results in profound consequences to people’s lived experiences and health. We acknowledge racism as the root cause of racial disparities in reproductive health and birth outcomes. Therefore, antiracism work is essential to midwifery practice.
We learn from Critical Race Theory that racism works to maintain power and privilege for those identified as white, and it manifests differently in different communities and at different times. Because we live and practice in the United States, it is important to specifically recognize and name anti-Black racism and the impact of settler colonialism on communities of color. These specific forms of white supremacy are deeply embedded in both the foundation of the United States and its current social and political structure. We see the impact of this current and historic racism in the egregious maternal child health disparities experienced by Black and Indigenous people.
We aim to center and celebrate and uplift the voices, experiences, solutions, and leadership of those most impacted by racism.
Resources for Learning more: