Please join the Weeksville Heritage Center on September 8th, for a day of programming that focuses on reproductive and birth justice as a response to the systemic disparity in the experience of childbirth and high rates of maternal-infant mortality among black women.
12:00 - 1:30 pm: The day begins with a moderated conversation among practitioners, healers, advocates, journalists and scholars within the field of maternal-infant health. What are the histories that shape the experience of reproduction and birth for women of color? How do racism and inequality in our medical systems impact the experience of and outcomes in childbirth? How can we challenge systemic problems and what can we do to take control of our health care for ourselves and our families?
Interdisciplinary artist, healer, activist and founder of Colored Girls Hustle, Taja Lindley will moderate a discussion with Chanel L. Porchia-Albert, founder of Ancient Song Doula Services, a reproductive health organization focused on providing resources and full spectrum doula services to women of color and marginalized communities; Professor Lynn Roberts, whose edited anthology, Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique, was published by Feminist Press in 2017; and Professor Linda Villarosa, who recently wrote a cover story for New York Times Magazine on the crisis in maternal infant mortality for women of color: “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies are in a Life-or-Death Crisis”.
2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm: Tours of the Historic Hunterfly Houses
2:00 - 3:00 pm: Naimah Efia Johnson, liberation-based therapist, yoga instructor, doula, healing justice practitioner, and community activist, will lead a workshop on communal healing and self-care through written and spoken forms of expression, documentation, testimony, and memory.
3:00 - 4:00pm: Sankofa Ra, practitioner of Kheth Hemet Birthing Center will lead a special her Womb Seed Closure workshop for women seeking to heal after surviving child loss, abortion, miscarriage and stillbirth. This safe, intimate, healing session will give women space to verbalize and share their experiences. Mothers will give names to their children, create an altar for them and establish a healing, peaceful connection for themselves and their families. Mamas, please bring an item, poem or something that reminds her of her baby to the event. Fathers are warmly welcomed and encouraged to attend.
Speaker and Workshop Leader Bios:
Naimah Efia Johnson is a licensed therapist, yoga instructor, doula, and community activist who applies a radically integrated therapeutic approach that is informed by activism, esotericism, liberation psychology, and ancestral wisdom. Naimah provides trauma-focused counseling with a dedicated focus on the trauma of oppression and has done extensive work with Black Women's Blueprint, supporting survivors of sexual assault & violence. She's a member of the transformative healing justice collective, Harriet's Apothecary; and also works collaboratively with organizations and institutions providing liberation-based training and facilitating community healing spaces.
Taja Lindley is a healer and an activist, creating socially engaged artwork that reflects and transforms audiences, shifts culture and moves people to action. In addition to being an artist, Lindley is actively engaged in social movements as a writer, consultant, and facilitator. For over a decade she has worked with non-profits, research institutes and government on policies and programming that impact women and girls, communities of color, low/no/fixed-income families, queer people, youth, and immigrants. Her writing has appeared in Rewire, YES! Magazine, Feministe, Salon, and EBONY.
Chanel L. Porchia-Albert is the founder of Ancient Song Doula Services, a reproductive health organization focused on providing resources and full spectrum doula services to women of color and marginalized communities. Her work within infant and maternal health has led her across the globe to Uganda were she has served as a maternal health strategist in rural war-torn areas to address the lack of resources to birthing mothers, she is a certified lactation counselor, midwifery assistant, and vegan chef and has served on various advisory boards throughout the country. Currently, she serves as a consultant for the NYC Department of Health in Mental Hygiene engaging providers in birth justice and serves on the advisory board at Ariadne Labs at Harvard Medical School. When she is not teaching or facilitating workshops you can find her spending time with her six children.
Sankofa Ra is the founder of Khet Hemet Birthing Center and a traditional midwife, alchemist, doula, art therapist, healer, crystal/egg energy tuner, lactation consultant, spiritual adviser, numerologist, certified holistic practitioner, nutrition consultant, crochet artist, crochet instructor, website designer, iridologist, sacral steam practitioner (aka vaginal steaming), herbalist, business consultant, CPR and AED certified.
Lynn Roberts, Ph.D. has a BS in human development from Howard University and a Ph.D. in Human Services Studies from Cornell University. She is currently a member of the tenured faculty in the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and previously served in the Urban Public Health Program and as an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Hunter College. Prior to CUNY, she oversaw the development, implementation, and evaluation of several life-affirming programs for women and youth in NYC. She also served on the board of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and recently co-edited an anthology, Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique (Feminist Press, 2017). Dr. Roberts’ current activism and scholarship examine the intersections of race, class, and gender in adolescent dating relationships, juvenile justice and reproductive health policies; as well as the impact of models of collaborative inquiry and teaching on civic and political engagement.
Linda Villarosa, Ph.D. is a professor at CUNY City College, journalist, and writer. Linda Villarosa runs the journalism program at the City College of New York in Harlem. She is a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, and in April wrote the cover story "Why America's Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis." She is writing "Under the Skin: Race, Inequality and the Health of a Nation," a book to be published by Doubleday in 2020.