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Birth Justice Collaborative Applauds Passage of Landmark Birth Justice Legislation

Minneapolis, Minnesota - May 22, 2024 The Birth Justice Collaborative proudly announces the successful passage of two groundbreaking bills aimed at advancing maternal health and improving birth outcomes for Minnesotans. The passage of these bills marks a significant victory for birth justice advocates and represents a critical step toward ensuring all birthing people will receive the care and support they deserve.

African American Homeplace (SF5171/HF5108):

The African American Homeplace Bill (SF5171/HF5108) was introduced by Senator Mary Kunesh, in the Senate and co-sponsored by Senators Mohamed, Champion, Abeler, and Oumou Verbeten. This bill seeks to fund planning for a culturally celebrative space that will serve as a single-entry point to find perinatal safety, learn about and access perinatal care, lactation support, nutrition education, economic navigation and be in community during the postpartum period. The successful passage of the African American Homeplace bill through both the Senate and the House is a testament to the tireless efforts of advocates and legislators committed to improving maternal health.

"We are thrilled to see the African American Homeplace planning bill pass," said Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway, Co-Senior Pastor of Liberty Community Church and Northside Healing Space. "This legislation is a vital step in addressing the disparities and systemic barriers that have long impacted maternal health outcomes in the Twin Cities African American community."

American Indian Birthing Center (SF4992/HF4935):

Similarly, the American Indian Birthing Center (SF4992/HF4935), also introduced by Senator Mary Kunesh, and co-sponsored by Senators Morrison, Port, Oumou Verbeten and Boldon, will establish funding to plan the first Native American Birthing Center in the United States focused on restorative practices and culturally-grounded support providing birthing families and cultural providers a safe and sacred space to prepare for and deliver children. Its passage represents a unified effort to bring about tremendous progress in eliminating perinatal health disparities for Indigenous birthing people.

"The passage of the American Indian Birthing Center funding bill is a monumental achievement," said Louise Matson, Executive Director of the Division of Indian Work. "It demonstrates our collective commitment to ensuring that every Indigenous birthing person in the Twin Cities receives culturally aligned, respectful, high-quality perinatal health care."

A New Era for Birth Justice

The successful enactment of these bills underscores the importance of legislative action in advancing birth justice. All partners within the Birth Justice Collaborative extend their gratitude to the lawmakers, advocates, and community members who have worked tirelessly to champion these causes.

"We are entering a new era for birth justice," said Corenia Smith Kunuku, Director of the Birth Justice Collaborative. "With these bills, we are laying the foundation for a future where every parent and child can thrive, free from the injustices and inequalities that currently exist in maternal health in the Twin Cities and beyond."

Photo details

Birth Justice Collaborative_Lgis_04-09-24_01 (front row, left to right): Corenia Smith, Antony Stately, Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway, Louise Matson, and Dr. Nick Metcalf.

Birth Justice Collaborative_Lgis_04-09-24_02: Senator Mary Kunesh (D) presenting the American Indian Birthing Center plan funding bill with the Native American Community Clinic (NACC) Executive Officer Dr. Antony Stately.

Birth Justice Collaborative_Lgis_04-09-24_03: Senator Mary Kunesh (D) presenting the African American Homeplace plan funding bill with the Northside Healing Space and Liberty Community Church Senior Co-Pastor Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway.

Birth Justice Collaborative_Lgis_04-09-24_04: NACC's Dr. Antony Stately and Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway shaking hands while Co-Pastor Cyreta Howard looks on.

Birth Justice Collaborative_Lgis_04-09-24_05: Reverend Dr. Alika Galloway, Dr. Antony Stately, Dr. Nick Metcalf, Laura LaCroix-Dalluhn, Corenia Smith, Ashley Johnson, Diane Tran, Cati Gómez, and Pastor Cyreta Howard.

Photo credit: Heather Shore

About the Birth Justice Collaborative

The Birth Justice Collaborative is an African American and American Indian led coalition advancing maternal health and birth justice by addressing barriers of structural racism, and reconnecting with cultural strengths and wisdom. The BJC currently has two bills relating to planning an African American Homeplace for mothers and doulas, and an American Indian Birthing Center. Birth Justice Collaborative coalition partners include: Native American Community Clinic, Cultural Wellness Center, Division of Indian Work, University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center (MIWRC), and Northside Healing Space. Learn more at http://www.birthjusticecollaborative.com.

For more information about the Birth Justice Collaborative advocacy, please contact Corenia Smith at corenia@collectiveactionlab.com.

 

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