For every harrowing statistic, there is a tragic lived experience: stories like Kira Johnson’s, whose husband Charles Johnson IV testified before Congress to describe how Kira - a vibrant, healthy Black woman who spoke four languages, lived in China, and ran several companies - died while giving birth to their second son, Langston.
Other experiences like those of Allyson Felix, Serena Williams, and Dr. Shalon Irving show that nobody is safe from the dangers of giving birth as a Black woman in America. For these women, and all of the other moms and families who have suffered, we must act now to save lives.
"We cannot save Black women in America if we don't start telling the truth." - Jennie Joseph
"I worked in a busy London hospital in the 1980s and over the ten years of practice, knew of only one maternal death. I remember it distinctly because the entire hospital reacted: we were so shocked and surprised that such a thing could happen that collectively we came together to grieve, commiserate, and support each other – similar to human behavior during any natural disaster. Now, living and working in the United States since 1989, I have become accustomed to hearing about, processing and accepting the unacceptable: that preventable maternal deaths are common, tolerated, and now – despite the vast amounts of money and resources being spent on obstetric care – rising."
On Becoming a Mother - Katie Shea Barrett
"I share my story because I am a health policy professional, a private insurance card holder, and a white woman with means. My privilege afforded me the ability to make those choices. As founding Executive Director of March for Moms, it is my work now to ensure that every family has the ability to grow their family in the way that they choose."
To share your story with us, please email BlackMaternalHealthCaucus@mail.house.gov