Late at night in my city of Minneapolis, I seek to formulate a statement to support a new tomorrow from the horrors of today. The pandemic called Racism-20 is yet another resurge of a 400 year economic and social virus. George Floyd’s death under police restraint gives America a clearer vision of the suppression of the human rights of Black citizens.
George Floyd’s death replays in less publicized ways across the nation. Police in the US kill over 1000 unarmed citizens annually, of which 60% are Black and Indigenous People of Color (MappingPoliceViolence.org). We have to move from a frightening surge of institutionalized lynchings to equity.
My role as a white ally evolves through my willingness to listen. To see, to be able to perceive, I must first look inside myself for the evidence of this pandemic. I take my temperature. Because as an ally, I want to assure you that I don’t have symptoms. But do I?
The epidemic of racism spreads in an unfortunate manner by asymptomatic carriers. Even if we are not active spewers of hate we can find ourselves inadvertently exhaling particles of historical rhetoric. Responsibility as an ally is learning to speak up when racism is occurring and learning to spot it in one’s own thinking.
Some are warrior spirits, some are peacemakers; we find how we are as allies. Some expose the poison, others add the tonic. These roles are not at odds. Each of our roles is vital.
Losses from racism include the obliteration of culture. The conquered are punished and even killed for using their language, religion, and healing traditions. Each of these holds the strength of the people. Birth health is disrupted when cultural context is stripped from birth care because of skin color. When the wisdom of the elders is outlawed and ridiculed then health and birth care are compromised.
We are committed to doing our part in supporting the Black community and reducing birth disparities. Spinning Babies® is learning how we, as an organization, can transform our internal structure. We open to more educational pathways and more diverse representation.
Our equity statement on our website shares five goals for ongoing action:
- Engaging in on-going examinations of Spinning Babies® internal and external practices.
- Requiring continuing cultural awareness education for Spinning Babies® Approved Trainers.
- Providing scholarships to Birth Workers of Color.
- Creating access to our information for Communities of Color; and training access for Black and Indigenous Birthworkers, including education by Black and Indigenous Trainers.
- Reviewing our curriculum to root out racism.
Local Minneapolis Artist Ellie Bryan of Black Banjo Art’s drawing of George Floyd in a garland of flowers is a statement of hope that we are experiencing the turning point. Please check out her Etsy page and website.
Black Lives Matter. The suppression of Black and Indigenous Peoples has been a sustained pandemic only possible because Black lives didn’t matter as proven by outcomes like life expectancy and maternal and infant mortality. The motto is an awakener. I’m listening. Black Births Matter.