This week is Black Maternal Health Week. A week set aside to bring awareness to Black maternal health and hopefully compel individuals to do something about the disparities that continue to plague this country.
Black Mamas Matter Alliance is an organization that you need to follow today.
This year's theme is:
“Our Bodies Belong to Us: Restoring Black Autonomy and Joy!”
I'm going to keep it real real on today. It is very difficult to find joy when you're faced with trauma on top of trauma, on top of trauma. When you take a few steps forward only to be sucker punched a mile back.
This is coming from a place of raw vulnerability right now. Headline after headline shows Black women either not being believed, trusted to make decisions that are right for their families, harmed from medical neglect, and continued trauma from the separation of mother and child.
Bodily autonomy is often immediately equated to abortion access. But can we unpack autonomy real quick?
Autonomy - The right or condition of self-governing.
Black women have never truly had this God-given right to self-governing. And furthermore, it's not just about having the right to XYZ. . .It's about justice.
I'm not even going to discuss abortion. I want to discuss history. We cannot possibly move forward if we do not understand the government's historical role in kidnapping, enslaving, raping, breeding, selling, sterilizing, and profiting off of the Black body.
Sit with that for a minute.
The government has kidnapped, enslaved, raped, bred, sold, sterilized, and profited off of the Black body.
Some of you may think, "Well, that was a long time ago". No! It's still happening!
Much like I can confidently say that the KKK simply changed their wardrobe from white sheets to suits and uniforms. I can also confidently say that many of the vile forms of dehumanization inflicted upon Black image-bearers still exist today.
Black babies are still being ripped from their mothers' arms and kidnapped TODAY.
Black men are still being ripped from their families and unjustly incarcerated (enslaved)TODAY.
Black women are still being sterilized without consent TODAY.
Black women's pain is still being ignored TODAY.
Black women are still dying from preventable childbirth-related causes TODAY.
Black suffering is profitable. . .TODAY.
If we look at the research, we see that the vast majority of Black maternal deaths are preventable.
The more C-sections, the more $$$. The more NICU babies, the more $$$. The more sick and hurt, the more $$$. I could go on and on. Just follow the money.
But somehow, this week, in the midst of hearing of a newborn baby being ripped from her mother's arms. A father being arrested unjustly in order to gain access to their home. A Licensed Midwife being vilified and soooo much more. We are supposed to find joy.
Joy for me these days looks like taking a nap in my hammock.
Joy for me these days looks like slowing down in a world that is all about the hurry.
Joy for me these days looks like listening to my children's giggles.
Joy for me these days looks like witnessing a sister set boundaries.
Joy for me these days looks like leading a thriving non-profit.
Joy for me these days looks like hearing the birds wake up in the morning.
Joy for me these days looks like feeling the sun kiss my skin.
Joy for me these days looks like quieting my mind and doing nothing.
Every moment we wake up is an opportunity for us to reclaim joy. As I sit here typing this, I am reminded of how the powers that be have done everything to try and destroy Black Joy. But it can't.
And it won't.