The initiative’s public communications followed suit by interfacing directly with Black families who give birth in Los Angeles County and calling people to boldly embrace an optimistic vision of joy and justice. The partnership offered resources and celebration during Black Maternal Health Week and continually calls for justice through solidarity when holding hospital systems accountable. AAIMM is part of a global movement for birth justice, with longstanding roots in Los Angeles County and in reproductive justice movements. Community accountability and action fuel continued movement-building. Community Action Teams hold regular community meetings with current and future parents, birth workers, community-based organizations, and health partners; and during COVID-19, they adapted to virtual platforms. “It’s critical to keep our community engaged and informed. I want to ensure that other mothers like me have options—support, love, equity in care, and resources at their reach to create healthy and loving environments for themselves and their children,” says Jones. “We’re building coalitions and increasing that support.”
The AAIMM Doula Program was developed specifically to address racial disparities in pregnancy, labor, and postpartum periods. The program has provided free, culturally relevant doula support to more than 500 Black pregnant people in Los Angeles County since 2019. Melissa Franklin, director of maternal, child, and adolescent health for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, describes the partnership’s efforts: “It’s not just program design. It’s solidarity. It’s relationships. It’s hearing each other’s dreams and truly supporting them.”
In the same spirit of “it takes a village,” The Village Fund, a public-private partnership to support community-led efforts that reinforce AAIMM’s goals, was created with $300,000 from donors, including the Los Angeles Department of Public Health and First 5 LA. The fund has sponsored projects such as Mighty Little Giants, which provides support for families of color with preterm newborns in neonatal intensive care units. Community Action Teams, with support from the Perinatal Equity Initiative, are also working across regions to support expectant fathers and partners. One of those efforts is a Juneteenth Father’s Day community celebration in South Los Angeles. Another is a five-week Expecting Fathers group for Black dads, in which other Black dads provide support and share navigation tools that focus on the prenatal, labor and delivery, postpartum, and early parenting periods.