During a time fraught with fear, tension, and anxiety, discussions about Black maternal health are even more critically important. Specifically, Black women’s experiences are shaped by a white supremacist nation that has used us as props—as if we’re not animated, flesh and blood human beings who love and laugh and hurt.

To close out Black Maternal Health Week, ESSENCE produced a Facebook Live panel featuring four dynamic Black women: Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, President, National Birth Equity and founding member of Black Mamas Matters Alliance; Susan Burton—or as renowned author Michelle Alexander describes her, this generation’s Harriet Tubman—founder of A New Way of Life; Monifa Bandele, Senior Vice-President, MomsRising, and New York Times best-selling author and award winning journalist asha bandele (moderator).

“If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” — Combahee River Collective

These dynamic change and healing agents discussed Black mothers trapped in the criminal justice system, medical apartheid and discrimination, reproductive justice, state violence, and how Black mothers and Black birthing people can thrive, especially right now.

As Monifa Bandele so powerfully said, “If [Black women] aren’t a part of creating the solutions, we’ll be left out of them.”

Watch the video above and click here to read ESSENCE’s Black Maternal Health Week coverage.

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