Erica Garner – Say her name
31st December 2017
What a way to end 2017. With the death of another beautiful black woman. An activist. A woman who shouted out her father’s dying words ‘I can’t breathe’. A young mother of two, one a baby born just a few short months ago.
She died of a heart attack. Her heart literally broke. A lifetime of micro aggressions, a father murdered by the police, a black mother of two birthing in a hospital where the high rate of black maternal, neonatal and postnatal deaths is beyond tragic. It’s a national disaster.
“But Mars”, you say, “that’s America, and we know it’s all messed up there. That kind of thing doesn’t happen over here”
My response is this – the maternal mortality rate in Black women in the UK was 28.2 per 100000 and 6.6 in White women in 2013-15. The racial disparity is increasing – the relative risk was 4.3 in 2013-15 and 3.0 in 2010-2012.
“But I know a better world is possible. I know that once we come together, we are powerful beyond imagination.” – Erica Garner
My call to action is this. Where are the black, medical scientists and researchers who are going to delve into this? Who is going to look at OUR birth microbiome and how the generational racism affects it and us? How can we, as birth workers of colour, come together to educate ourselves and our pregnant, birthing, postnatal mothers so that we can come against that disparity, shrink the gap and make birthing whilst black safe and wonderful?
We need reproductive justice. Black lives matter. ALL black lives. Let us not neglect our mothers and babies in the fight for civil rights on either side of The Pond.