Black Maternal Health Week Begins Now. Here Are 11 Events Happening Around SoCal

Raena Granberry, program director for Black Women for Wellness, does outreach at a community event in Leimert Park. (Priska Neely)

It's been a year since Los Angeles County launched a plan to stop black infants from dying at a staggering rate — black babies in L.A. are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies (birth outcomes for Latino and Asian babies are close to the white rate). Meanwhile, black women in the U.S. are up to four times as likely to die as a result of pregnancy complications than women of other races.

To help protect black mothers, a national initiative called Black Maternal Health Week was created. It begins Thursday and there are events happening across the region. Before we get to the roundup of happenings, let's quickly review the progress that's been made locally for black infants.

Here's what happened since county public health leaders last April set a goal of closing the infant mortality gap by 30% by 2022.

  • A new website was launched to post data and help people find community resources.
  • The African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Initiative steering committee was created, with 25 members from county departments and community groups.
  • A Pritzker Family Foundation fellow, Melissa Franklin, is now coordinating efforts between the health department and the child-advocacy organization First 5 LA.
  • Focus group interviews resulted in this report.
  • The county secured $1.2 million in funding from the state's Perinatal Equity Initiative to build on the work from the statewide Black Infant Health program.

BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH WEEK EVENTS

FRIDAY, APRIL 12; 8:30 -10:30 a.m.
Sisters @ Eight: To Be Pregnant and Black in 2019
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power — 4030 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles
Black Women for Wellness is presenting a panel of pregnant black women who will discuss their experiences in today's socio-political climate. State Sen. Holly Mitchell will also discuss what the state is doing to address birth outcomes and the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act. RSVP HERE

FRIDAY, APRIL 12; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Death by Delivery screening and Q&A
Baldwin Hills Mall Community Room — 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Los Angeles
A screening of the Fusion documentary "Death by Delivery" and panel discussion, presented by the Children's Collective Black Infant Health program and First 5 LA. RSVP by calling 323-238-3206

FRIDAY, APRIL 12; 7- 9 p.m.
Mama Meetup
The Love Dome — 200 Lincoln Boulevard, Los Angeles
She Rose Doula Services presents a discussion for moms or moms-to-be on what doulas do, the benefits of doula services, and how to find one. MORE INFO

SATURDAY, APRIL 13; 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Death by Delivery screening and panel discussion
Kingdom of Life Fellowship Church — 5337 Sierra Highway, Lancaster
A screening of the Fusion documentary "Death by Delivery," followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Black Infant Health, WIC and Black Women for Wellness about the resources available in the Antelope Valley. RSVP HERE

SATURDAY, APRIL 13; 3 - 5 p.m.
Black Mamas High Tea
The Modern Tea Room — 705 W. Lancaster Boulevard, Lancaster
New and expectant mothers are invited to tea, and a presentation on the teas that support healthy pregnancy, milk supply, and womb health. RSVP HERE

SATURDAY, APRIL 13; 3 - 6 p.m.
Deep Mamasation
The Love Dome — 200 Lincoln Boulevard, Los Angeles
She Rose Doula Services is hosting this panel discussion for moms on everything from parenting to financial literacy and self-love. MORE INFO

SUNDAY, APRIL 14; 7:45 - 11:30 a.m.
Black and Botanical: Grand Park Family Expedition
Pickup: 4340 11th Avenue, Los Angeles
A bus will depart from Black Women for Wellness offices in South LA and take families to Grand Park for an an afternoon of de-stressing with yoga and outdoor botanical learning. RSVP HERE

MONDAY, APRIL 15
Black Women for Wellness Podcast: The Dish on Doulas
The latest episode of the Black Women for Wellness podcast drops with a conversation with Andrea Mozelle, CEO of Nurturing Nannies, on what doulas do and how they can help pregnant women. MORE INFO

TUESDAY, APRIL 16; 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Black Mommies Matter Baby Shower
Burning Bush Church — 14849 7th Street, Victorville
This High Desert baby shower for new and expectant moms will include lunch, traditional shower games and prizes, and an opportunity to get questions answered by a nurse practitioner and counselor. MORE INFO

TUESDAY, APRIL 16; 4 - 5 p.m.
Jefferson Branch Library — 2211 W. Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles
The Los Angeles Public Library and March of Dimes are hosting an event for moms and moms-to-be to share stories, learn tips and self-care exercises. MORE INFO

TUESDAY, APRIL 30; 5 p.m. (related, though not technically occuring during #BMHW19)
We Still Here: A Visual Experience
The Heart Center — 1427 Fourth St., Los Angeles
The small non-profit Healing Hues organized an exhibit in collaboration with photographers Roz Kumari and Vel Images. The goal is to raise awareness, build and express resiliency as a community, and find community-driven solutions to the health crisis. MORE INFO

RSVP NOW: Join KPCC for a Conversation on Wellness for Black Moms-to-Be on May 25th.


Know of other events going on? Send an email to pneely@kpcc.org

A version of this story also ran on KPCC's Take Two. Listen here.