Together We Stand, United We March On

Together We Stand, United We March On

Today marks the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington. 57 years. In the decades since, we have fought. Yet, the fight continues. This year has magnified societal ills and struggles amid an unforeseen and unexpected backdrop: COVID-19. A coincidence? No. We believe it to be a call to action. A call to hear, listen, address, and move. A call to real action, right where we are, with what we have. We can no longer remain silent. Inequities, discrimination, and disparities are not only real but hindering humanity's growth as a whole. We all deserve to be loved, cared for, and respected.

The above challenges are seen clearly in our space, in our own backyard of maternal and child health. While most pregnancy-related deaths are said to be preventable, women of color are 2-3 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes. Black babies are twice as likely not to see their first birthdays. Women of color are up to 50% more likely to give birth prematurely. The stillbirth rate among women of color continues to remain high. Congenital CMV is not immune to disparities either. The list goes on. Yet, these are just the quantifiable differences. How do we quantify years of productive life lost? Or the impact on one's quality of life? To truly get to the bottom of these disparities, we need to look at the role of equity, social determinants of health, and yes, even ourselves.

As we plan to explore the issues of equity and disparities in upcoming programming and activities, we wanted to share valuable resources to help us all learn and grow. If you are interested in learning more about reducing health-related stigma, then be sure to check out the March of Dimes' Beyond Labels website. Want to understand how and why we all struggle with bias to an extent? Check out the book Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. If you wish to dig deeper to understand better the historical context of some of the disparities and equity challenges we are seeing, you may wish to read Medical Apartheid. And for those wishing to find resources that help describe and explain racism to young minds, please check out Nickelodeon's Anti-Racism Resources for Parents & Families.

Of course, this brief listing of resources is not exhaustive. We do not have all the answers. But we do have an obligation to acknowledge. We do have to start. Now.

We are so proud of what we've collectively built over the years, and we want to continue to strengthen and expand this work. As the African Proverb states, "If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

Marching On,
Khaliah Fleming, Executive Director
Amanda Devereaux, Program Director