Anti-Oppression Session 28th July 2020

Each week we hold an Anti-Oppression Session, Tuesday morning, 10am – 12pm GMT+1. This is an open space to work together on navigating anti-oppression and anti-racism thinking and doing. Cass will publish a short blog following each session, this is the second post in the series.

In last week’s session and blog, I highlighted the FiveXMore Campaign, which is campaigning for action on the increased risk of maternal death for Black mothers and birthing people in the UK. This quote is taken directly from the MBRRACE-UK 2018 report, and as shared on the FiveXMore Campaign. In addition to this, Black babies are twice as likely to be stillborn or die shortly after birth compared to White babies.

“There is a five-fold difference in maternal mortality rates amongst women from black ethnic backgrounds and an almost two-fold difference amongst women from Asian Ethnic backgrounds compared to white women. 

In the session today I took some time to write to my MP, using this helpful template as a starting point. The letter asks your MP to write to the health secretary and ask for an immediate plan of action to reduce these outcomes for Black women and birthing people. I have also requested further discussion with my MP about these issues in a more local context.

I first came across these figures in 2018, after the death of my daughter in the neonatal period of her life, in fact the 2019 MBRRACE-UK report holds my daughter’s death within the published statistics. Having lived and continuing to live with this experience as closely as I do, I viscerally understand the stories and the lives sitting within those figures, to an extent. Whilst I understand one real life narrative of being a bereaved parent, I am also a White person, and my experiences of pregnancy and birth are shaped and contextualised by my embodied experience of race and the privileges and relative safety of existing within a White body. Rather than talk over these lives and stories, I will share some of the voices and resources here that are far more important to hear:

The Black Land and Spatial Justice, Free Black University, and Mentoring 1000 Black Businesses projects that I shared last week can be found here, please support and share.

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