Black History Month (2021)
February 3, 2021
We recognize February as Black History Month, both as an important national action towards reparations for historic and ongoing racial injustice, erasure and oppression, and also to pay homage to Black excellence and contributions over the centuries. Yet it is even more imperative that such actions are not limited to a single month of the year. Dismantling anti-Black racism must be daily and deliberate. As an association, we acknowledge our responsibility to make this work an ongoing priority.
There is no denying that there is much work to be done. In the summer of 2020, the AOM added a new pillar to our Strategic Plan to solidify our commitment to address systemic racism and inequality at the individual and institutional levels, and within the midwifery profession at large. In the fall, we announced the formation of a new department, the Department of Health-Care Equity, Quality and Human Rights, to home in on this work and to ensure that the AOM remains accountable to its members, its staff and to Indigenous, Black and racialized birthing communities.
We encourage all midwives and practice groups to remain vigilant against the systems of oppression that have made Black History Month and other forms of reparations a necessity. Having good intentions does not make us exempt from inflicting racism. Addressing racism and white supremacy requires ongoing critical reflection and continued learning and evolving. Consider when last your practice group collectively reflected upon whether the needs of Black clients, midwives, students and staff are being met. Does your practice provide accessible and culturally sensitive care to Black communities? How is this measured and how can improvements be made? Do you utilized Black-led research and knowledge to inform your practice? Are there Black businesses and services in your community that you can support and promote?
The work to dismantle anti-Black racism involves lifting up Black histories, Black futures, Black lives and Black excellence. It calls for humility through our journey of learning and unlearning. As we continue this work, we acknowledge and value our Black colleagues and students as integral members of the midwifery profession.