Maternal & Infant Health, in particular Alarmingly High Maternal Death Rates:
Women in the United States are dying from childbirth-related complications, regardless of race, economics or location at an alarming rate. The United States’ maternal mortality rate ranks 47th among developed nations, and it’s even worse for women of color. African-American women are three times more likely than other women to die from childbirth-related complications.
$26.5 billion dollars are lost on Long Island due to the racial wage gap. One of the causes of this is because Black women are paid the lowest, as are Latina women, particularly when compared to their white counterparts. Consequently, they are often forced to work more than 1 job to make ends meet. Black women are also often the heads of their households and tasked with footing most of the bills. Wealth inequities contribute to continued systemic racism and indicate a need to invest in communities of color.
Racial Bias & Systemic Racism, in particular Policing & Community Safety:
Nation-wide systemic racism has shaped our criminal justice institutions toward discriminatory practices, building inequitable policies into their very foundations. Across the country, we have filled prisons with Black and brown people, and expanded policing and incarceration while defunding the very systems and programs that would address the root causes of “crime.” Long Island has an infamous history of racial segregation and the hyper-policing of Black and Latinx communities. For too long, our communities of color have been the victim of these practices while we fail to repair the harm caused to those left behind.
Historically, society often deems females, transgender people, and nonbinary people as “weaker” or less important than males. Women, transgender people, and nonbinary people face gender wage gaps, occupational segregation, and are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. WDN is committed to empowering women and other marginalized groups, and to fighting for gender equality at home, in our communities, and in the workplace. We strive to empower women in all aspects of life.
OUR Justice AREAS
The Women’s Diversity Network’s Maternal Justice Coalition
The Maternal Justice Coalition is comprised of diverse, complementary organizations, agencies, clinicians and individuals, who work together as one cohesive force that is supportive of positive health outcomes for Black women and other vulnerable populations on Long Island. Partners include Birth Justice Warriors and the Suffolk County Office of Minority Health.
The Coalition seeks to:
Increase awareness of disparities and inequities in maternal and infant health outcomes among professionals, students, and the community.
Support Black women and other vulnerable populations in demanding a better standard of care when accessing maternal health services.
Create an advocacy platform that brings about policy change on the local level regarding negative health outcomes for women, infants, and other vulnerable populations.
Hold practitioners accountable to abide by recommendations/best practices and provide respectful, safe, and culturally appropriate care to all patients.
The Coalition will accomplish this through:
Fostering collective action by collaborating with the county executives, local elected officials, hospitals, organizations, agencies, etc. that work in, or have a shared goal, to promote universal birth preparedness and postpartum continuity of care and invite them to participate in and be a sponsor of the Maternal Justice Coalition.
Facilitating meetings, programs, panel discussions, social media marketing campaigns, network events, screenings, and community and clinical presentations/trainings that promote positive maternal health outcomes.
Outreach programs to expectant Black mothers and other vulnerable populations on resources, self-care in the prenatal period, and self-advocacy trainings.
Letter writing, meeting with local elected officials, attending and organizing events, linking with a national task force (ex. Black Mamas Matter) on this issue and initiatives for support and guidance, creating a petition, holding press conferences, and meeting with hospital administration and clinicians.
We have over 30 different Task Force Members