The SDBFC Foundation was born in 2016, a year that to many, further emphasized the power, urgency and necessity for immense efforts to reshape our society to make it a more equitable and just place. About 3 years after the birth of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, 2016 also marked a very tense presidential election, following President Obama's historical eight years in office. Our country became further divided as we got a new president. In 2016, the Flint water crisis, caused severe and lifelong conditions from contaminated drinking water, that negatively impacted the health of thousands including over 9,000 babies in Flint, Michigan, which is 57% Black. Also in 2016, the tragic death of Philando Castile, a young Black father with his family when he was killed during a traffic stop. The 2016 heartbreaking story of Kira Dixon Johnson–a victim of the Black maternal health crisis, despite the persistent pleas from both Kira and her husband, Charles Johnson, the hospital callously disregarded their urgent requests for a post-childbirth examination. Tragically, 12 hours after undergoing a cesarean section, Kira succumbed to internal bleeding, with the insidious impact of medical racism proving fatal. The death of Kira Dixon Johnson sparked a national conversation about the racial disparities in Black maternal care. Against this backdrop, issues of race, racism, and discrimination became intricately woven into the fabric of our nations’ discourse, creating the complex narratives of our collective anxieties. In this year, it became crucial to continue dismantling harmful systems of oppression that are responsible for these very avoidable disparities.
Understanding the dynamics of race and racism in America is crucial, especially when considering the lived experiences of marginalized communities. Centuries of systemic racism, from slavery to segregation, have cast a large shadow on America's racial landscape, influencing the overarching tensions within our society. These same issues intersect with the complexities of breastfeeding, that go beyond health considerations, intertwining with broader societal challenges, particularly racial disparities in healthcare affecting access to lactation support for families of color. Black women, in particular, face numerous hurdles in successful breastfeeding due to systemic and structural racism, highlighting the need to view breastfeeding as a social justice issue linked intricately with reproductive rights.
Within the realm of maternal and infant health, breastfeeding emerges as a natural act with a complex intersectionality tied to social justice, reproductive rights, food justice, and environmental justice. For many families, especially those in marginalized communities, the decision to breastfeed is entangled with broader societal issues, such as limited access to quality healthcare, systemic racism, and economic disparities. Recognizing breastfeeding as a reproductive right emphasizes the need for equitable support structures. Placing breastfeeding within the realms of food justice and environmental justice deepens our understanding of its societal implications. Limited access to nutritious food and exposure to environmental toxins can impact a mother's ability to provide optimal nutrition through breastfeeding, resulting in an inequitable feeding experience for the baby. Lactation support has become a crucial force in addressing the intersectionality of breastfeeding challenges, necessitating culturally congruent care and inclusive support systems.
By recognizing the diverse needs of breastfeeding families, lactation support becomes a dynamic force for dismantling systemic barriers and promoting health equity. Addressing breastfeeding disparities for Black women requires a comprehensive approach encompassing advocacy for policy changes, workplace reforms, improved healthcare access, and trauma informed and culturally competent high quality support services. The SDBFC Foundation, saw and heard the diverse needs of our community, and that's why we're here.
The foundation has been working tirelessly to eliminate disparities by providing culturally congruent lactation support and breaking barriers through scholarships for aspiring BIPOC lactation professionals. In 2023, we proudly became a Black woman-led non-profit, offering over 1,000 free or reduced lactation consultations and granting 16 BIPOC scholarships totaling over $17,000.
..And so here we are first week of January 2024, we initiated this blog to provide space to educate, empower and uplight the community. We hope it fosters constructive and candid conversations among the public to learn how we can all be working towards a more inclusive and equitable society in lactation and perinatal support. As we celebrate eight years of growth, our commitment to eliminating disparities remains unwavering, and we invite you to join us in this mission. Share our vision with your friends, family, colleagues, and networks. We need you, the community needs you, the babies need you.
Your donations and grant funding keep our work going! If you wish to contribute, volunteer, or work with us, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the tabs above. If you're a parent seeking support, click on the "our clinics" tab, and if you're interested in a scholarship, click on the "get involved" tab. Donations are welcomed year-round!