After looking at what we had gathered from surveys, informal conversations, and our own stories, in the fall of 2009, Mamas of Color Rising decided we were ready to focus on one issue area and launch our organizing work.
Why we are choosing to focus on birthing access as our first campaign and organizing project:
-One, is that the quality and level of support received in a birthing experience can set the stage for the whole parenting experience for both mothers and their children. The scrutiny and policing poor families receive usually begins during pregnancy. As Mamas of Color Rising- we want to expose these types of violations (which most mothers and families would never agree to) and highlight those who are most vulnerable, (young mothers, encarcerated mothers, undocumented mothers).
-Currently full choices in type of birthing -is only accessible to wealthier women, women with private insurance or with the ability to pay out of pocket. Undocumented women, un-insured women and women on Medicaid have access to a hospital (usually highly medicalized birth) often with a doctor they have never met before. Women with economic access can choose the type of provider, whether to have a hospital, birth center or home birth, whether to have a water birth, a midwife, a doula, a doctor or a combination of these.
-Challenging the Medicaid discrimination in birthing also allows us to make connections to other social justice issues and movements. While much information and activism is happening around issues of the Prison Industrial Complex, the ICE and local law-enforcement connections, Public Education Injustice leading to the low-wage workforce. Currently there are larger social connections being brought out by the “School to Prison Pipeline” concept. When we add a gendered lense and make public the private interactions with the state and state agencies, we can begin to see the “WOMB TO PRISON PIPELINE” and hopefully work together to dismantle it.
-By choosing to begin by focusing on birthing, we hope to both create impact through a campaign to push for Medicaid to cover births with Midwives here in Texas. It’s a strategic moment for this and there are other organizations of women and midwives building momentum. What Mamas of Color Rising can bring to that effort- is the voice of those directly affected, women on Medicaid.
-Our vision for liberation is two-fold. One is to CHALLENGE POWER, by making demands on the state (in this case-increasing access to birthing options). And the other is to BUILD POWER, to create a local birthing support project where we can model the options and community support that we envision for all families.
-We see ourselves as a small piece of a larger social justice struggle. We bring our analysis and our vision for collectivizing care-taking work and making it recognized and valued as meaningful work in all of society. And we hope that our vision can be part of the larger collective vision and project of building-POWER towards a more just and loving world.
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