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Motherhood is one of the most incredible experiences in life. With a 3-year old daughter and one in the oven, I can’t ignore the fact that Black maternal death rates are astronomically high in this country, a public health issue steeped in racism. Black women are 243% more likely to die during their pregnancy or birth compared to white women. Black infants are also 2x more likely to die by their first birthday. While the stats are scary, especially for a Black mother like myself, remember that race is not a risk factor for death. Our lived experiences in our bodies and chronic confrontations with racism leave us vulnerable to disparate outcomes from health inequities to a lack of access to care. Since racism is part and parcel of being black in America, many women suffer in silence, never revealing their stories of traumatic birth or frank mistreatment and disregard by medical personnel. We all have a right to freedom from discrimination and bias while birthing our children. As a collective voice, we can demand that racism in healthcare be dismantled. So where do we start? 1 - Let's work to dismantle racism within our family and social circles. This means calling out bigoted thinking and white privilege on the spot, reminding people that we as a country are evolving past this archaic and dangerous way of thinking. 2 - Acknowledge the truth. Racism permeates the deepest core of our society, and lives are lost because of it. #BlackLivesMatter too. 3 - Show up and listen with compassion. If you’re reading this, you have already started this step. Please continue to do so within your social circles. 4 - Follow and support causes that are doing this work. I’m posting a list of Black doctors to follow and organizations working in the reproductive justice space (see Stories). — @kahlanabarfield #ShareTheMicNow