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Black Maternal Health Week

Photo by Piskel,

Black Maternal Health Week events

Awareness week aims address disproportionate Black maternal mortality rates

Groups across Seattle will be marking Black Maternal Health Week April 11-17 and in the weeks beyond with educational events, discussions, and other learning and advocacy opportunities. 

The awareness week was founded by the national Black Mamas Matter Alliance​ (BMMA) and aims to educate the public about the nation’s inequitable Black mother and infant mortality rates, create a community groundswell in support of Black mothers and babies, and amplify ​the voices, perspectives and lived birth experiences of Black people. 

The following local events will take place during Black Maternal Health Week:

April 12 Black birth worker celebration

The BLK MAMAS Collective will host the “Giving Life & Giving Light: A Black Birthworker Soiree” for Seattle-area black birth support professionals on April 12. The event will celebrate the work of Black doulas, midwives, birth advocates, peer educators, and lactation counselors/consultants throughout the Pacific Northwest. The event starts at 5 p.m. at a location to be announced soon. S pace is limited. Registration is required. 

Black Maternal Health week

Author Sabia Wade. Photography by Kelley Raye //

April 14th book club with author Sabia Wade

L OVING ROOM: diaspora books + salon will partner with BLK MAMAS on April 14 to host “Birth Liberation: a Seattle Black Maternal Health Week Reproductive Justice book club meeting.” The free book discussion will focus on Sabia Wade’s “Birthing Liberation: How Reproductive Justice Can Set Us Free.” Wade will be at the in-person event. Copies of her book are available at LOVING ROOM before the book club meeting, through the bookstore’s online portal, and online through Amazon and other booksellers. The event begins at 5 p.m. at 1400 20th Avenue in Seattle. Space is limited. Registration is requested

On April 15th Our Joy Be Full event

BLK MAMAS will host the Our Joy Be Full: Black Kin Healing the Collective Body event at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Avenue South Seattle, April 15 from 2-6 p.m. Panel discussions will center on Black mothers impacted by the justice system, including discussions of experiences in sex work and survivorship. Event leaders say the event is intended to “re-center the dignity and humanity” of Black mothers:

Black maternal health week

“Our goal is to remain present and intentional in our definitions of reproductive justice, and to re-center the dignity and humanity of all Black mamas, especially those who share these stories and lived experiences,” the event announcement explains. “In opening up this space, we aspire to undo the discourses of respectability that are too often leveraged in discussions of Black motherhood and who is deserving of our care, compassion, and outrage when we acknowledge the crisis in Black maternal mortality.”

Sabia Wade, author of Birthing Liberation: How Reproductive Justice Can Set Us Free, will make the keynote address. Local gender justice advocates Ashley Albert and Doris O’Neal, as well as Yoga Nidra practitioner Sophia Haddix, will also join discussion panels. Infants and older youth are welcome. Supervised play will be provided for children ages 2 to 10 years old. Event Registration is required

Event organizers are accepting applications for vendors from Black women-led organizations and businesses that directly serve Black mothers & families to participate in an event marketplace. To inquire, fill out a vendor registration form.

Black Maternal Health Week

Darquita with her mother Denyeta, Alexandria, VA, 1979. From “Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians.” On view in the Designing Motherhood: Things that Make and Break Our Births exhibition.

On April 26 Gates Discovery Center discussion

Soon after the conclusion of Black Maternal Health Week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center will keep the birth equity discussion going during an online dialogue about improving care for all families during pregnancy and parenting. 

“The Importance of Care: Parenthood, Caregiving & Community” panel discussion is connected to the Discovery Center’s current exhibition, Designing Motherhood: Things that Make and Break Our Births, and will delve into such issues as family planning, prenatal care, support for BIPOC families, and what it means to practice self-care. 

The panel will feature Angela Garbes, author of “Essential Labor: Mothering as Social Change,” Dila Perera, executive director of Open Arms Perinatal Services, Mercedes Snyder midwife and owner of Something Beautiful Midwifery and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation staff member Kaleigh MacDaniels. Local storyteller Rosette Royale will serve as moderator. The event begins at 5 p.m. Registration is required.

More at Seattle’s Child:

“BIPOC groups tackling birth inequities funded”


About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at