Photos credit: Isseu Diouf Campbell
On Saturday, January 21, New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, Council Member Nantasha Williams, and members of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus (BLAC) and Women’s Caucus hosted a viewing of the Hulu documentary ‘Aftershock’ at the Black Spectrum Theatre Company in Queens.
The film, a must-see for every Black woman, tells the powerful story of two families that lost their loved ones due to complications during and after childbirth and are now on the frontline of the birth justice movement calling for the urgent need for systemic changes in both health care and government.
A panel discussion with the families featured in the documentary, along with health experts and birth justice advocates, followed the documentary screening. Panelists included Omari Maynard, Educator, Artist, and Survivor; Bruce McIntyre III, Maternal Health Advocate, Educator, and Survivor; Dr. Onaje Muid, Fatherhood Coordinator for the Healthy Start Program; Chanel L. Porchia-Albert, Commission on Gender Equity; Particia O. Loftman, New York Midwives (NYM) at Harlem Hospital; Amida Castagne, MPH, Deputy Director of Community Initiatives; Shawnee Benton Gibson, Co-Founder and CEO of Spirit of A Woman Leadership Development Institute and Valerie Hall of The National Council of Negro Women, Inc.
Mental health and reproductive health resources were provided at the event and an art exhibition was on display to amplify the lives of Black and Brown mothers whose lives were lost due to maternal mortality and the impact that their deaths have had on their children, families, and communities.
Last year, the first women-majority New York City Council passed a historic legislative package to address persistent disparities in maternal health, mortality, and morbidity. The 11-bill package, signed into law on September 6, 2022, includes measures requiring the City to train doulas and provide doula services to residents of marginalized communities at no cost, conduct public education about maternal and birthing health, and increase transparency about the City’s efforts to address this crisis.