"History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own."
BLACK LIVES MATTER
Statement of Support
The Colorado Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (CO-ACNM) mourns the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and more recently, David McAtee, who was shot and killed during protests in Louisville, KY. We are committed to fighting racism, condemning police brutality, standing alongside people of color and supporting organizations in condemnation of violence against black communities. We recognize and support public protests as a constitutionally protected activity: to be heard and to demand change in American culture and society, in government at all levels, and in institutions, both public and private, including healthcare. But, as we see and hear from our fellow humans who are protesting around the country, mourning these losses is simply not enough: We must do something.
Midwifery as a profession evolved from the tireless work of the Grand Midwives, parteras, and indigenous birth attendants; women who have woven the fabric of this country. Just as then, today, we must stand up for our patients, our fellow midwives, and for all citizens of our country in support of birth equity and social justice. Racism is a public health crisis; a crisis that inordinately affects persons of color. In this moment, we seek to marshal our resources and to answer the call to action in support of racial justice. We see firsthand the role that institutional racism plays in the maternal mortality crisis in this country. We see how the burdens from generational stress affect physical and mental health. We recognize that the healthcare system itself is fraught with racial bias. It is our duty as midwives caring for people of color to join the cause of healthcare equity and act in accordance with our beliefs and values.
The Colorado Affiliate of ACNM is committed to the broader movement to dismantle institutional racism. We support the activities of organizations such as Sister Song, Black Mamas Matter, Shades of Blue Project, Black Women's Health Imperative, March for Moms, Elephant Circle. We celebrate the work of these organizations and many others that we may have missed.
As an affiliate, we propose the following:
Delineation of our mission to specify Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): We propose a new committee within CO-ACNM for diversity, equity, and inclusion. The committee will ensure that all of our activities, education, and funding engender these critical components of our beliefs and mission. We propose an ad hoc vote by affiliate membership, to determine whether this action is supported.
Allocation of funds toward DEI activities: Our board has voted that CO-ACNM will donate to Black Women's Health Imperative and Elephant Circle. We hope the DEI committee of CO-ACNM will continue this mission by choosing an organization to dedicate funds to annually.
Specificity of our work toward DEI: We propose that our next live, virtual CME event for Region VI will be on a topic relevant to diversity, equity, & inclusion, particularly on racism and its effect on the people for which we care. We will suggest this to the planning committee.
We sit with each of you and urge you to join us in this mission to make a change. Black Lives Matter. Racism is a public health crisis. Midwives make a difference.
In support and solidarity,
The CO ACNM Local Affiliate
Elisa Patterson, President
Jeanne Bair, Vice President
Denise Smith, Treasurer
Gillian Brautigam, Secretary
Maggie Berigan, Student Representative
Heather O'Meara, Member-at-large
Kala Kluender, Member-at-large
Prejudicial and discriminatory practices and policies remain deeply entrenched in our nation. These structural forces perpetuate racism and race-based disparities in midwifery and contribute to inequities in reproductive health and negative health outcomes for Black, Brown, Indigenous, and people of color. ACNM stands accountable for the pain that has occurred as a result of racism in our history, our midwifery programs, and our organization. ACNM is committed to the work of dismantling structural racism by recognizing and addressing historical and current racism within midwifery education, clinical practice, and institutions including ACNM.
We call on our organization, midwifery programs, and members to prioritize supporting our friends, families, students, colleagues, communities, each other, and most especially, those who do not have the privilege of looking away from the fear, the trauma, and the grief. We are all created equal. We must all hold ourselves accountable and fervently defend the basic human right of all people to be treated with dignity, decency, and respect in environments and through interactions characterized by mutual trust, fairness, and the absence of intimidation, oppression, and exploitation.