black maternal mortality. we often hear these words and many assume the translation is poor, working class, uneducated black women. we don't think PhD, 2 masters degrees and personal missions to find out why folks are dying at alarming rates. when we hear black maternal mortality, we also think of death at birth. we do not consider after birth. are they being cared for? are their questions answered? are their concerns addressed? we do not think that black maternal mortality is someone like Shalon.
the quiet is so loud and the numbing so pronounced, you're unsure that this is in fact life. that this is real. how is it possible that something like this could happen to a person working to eliminate this reality for others? but when you understand how systems of oppression and the industries upholding them work, this isn't a surprise. (i mean the berlin conference was indeed a thing y'all!) white supremacist, patriarchal and capitalist thinking and doing is the reason why. so when others dare to fix their mouths and say, "but slavery was so long ago," you have to pause and breathe. the effects never went away. they multiplied and masked themselves as progress.
when we connect the dots, we can't help but feel despair. education and even access to resources won't save many. there needs to be a fundamental, radical paradigm shift on how we see each other. our ethical and moral compasses need rewiring. until then, we will continue to see Shalon's and it is unfair and abhorrent to allow her narrative to be written by casualty.
how will we uplift Shalon's legacy and her daughter, Soleil?
for further reading:
- "Don't Let Nobody Bother Yo' Principle": The Sexual Economy of American Slavery by Adrienne Davis
- Remembering Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey: The Mothers of Modern Gynecology
- #TBT: 'Granny Midwives' of the South