Nationally, black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women. In places such as Georgia or New York, that statistic is as high as twelve times more likely. Black Mama: Endangered is a live storysharing performance of ten true stories – all shared by local storytellers – that unpacks the experiences of black women and their trials with the healthcare system. The theme is healthcare issues that black women face, including prenatal care, delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, illness, death, and the impact on families.
On Saturday, October 19, from 12:00 p.m. – 4 p.m., at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, over 100 people gathered to hear:
✅10 stories that came from all black women written by a black women.
✅10 black women storytellers ready to share and speak these stories to honor the experiences of their sisters.
✅4 black women who are working in the community to reverse these statistics ready to lead an impactful community conversation.
The stories were raw, intimate, and powerful. Written by Hannah Hasan of Epoch Tribe, the stories revealed experiences of trauma, heartache, disparate treatment, loss, love, racism, family, and strength.
Listen to Hannah talk about her process for finding stories here.
The 10 stories were told on stage by 10 black women storytellers who moved the audience with their presence and talent:
- “I’m Coming Home” shared by Keya Hamilton
- “The Inside” shared by Lakashanna Corpening
- “Birth Plan” shared by Lasondra Oates
- “What is the Cost” shared by Saffiyah Baldwin
- “Empty” shared by Amandla Awethu
- “He Saved My Life” shared by Kelly Greene
- “The Doctor Said” shared by Danielle Sanders
- “On Healing Wounds” shared by Hannah Hasan
- “An Open Letter to My Sister” shared by Zahra Mahdi
- “I Knew” shared by Juanita B. Greene
Watch the stories shared live here.
Following the powerful storysharing, attendees participated in a community conversation led by the amazing Melanie Anderson.
We heard from community leaders working to advocate for black women and reproductive justice in their communities. Our speakers included Tiawna “Tia” Brown, founder of Beauty After The Bars and Mothers and Infants Nursing Together (MINT) and Sharne Haywood, Public Policy Coordinator for Planned Parenthood.
Listen to Tia tell her story here.
Listen to Sharnee explain why she does this work here.
We also heard from Brandi Calhoun, full-spectrum doula and Director of Reproductive and Maternal Health at the YWCA Greensboro. Brandi shared her story and her mother’s story and emphasized how important it is to continue telling these stories.
Watch Brandi share her story here.
Attendees also had an opportunity to participate in a community art project, with “Airing Out” the Dirty Laundry. Together, a beautiful quilt of stories was created.
Several CRAN partners were also present to provide information on community resources and volunteer opportunities. Attendees were able to connect with community organizations working on reproductive healthcare, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice in North Carolina.
We are grateful to Hannah Hasan and Epoch Tribe, to our storytellers, to our speakers, to our partners, and to each and every one of our attendees for making this event a success. We must continue to tell these stories and address the disparate treatment of black and brown women within the healthcare system. For more information on how you can get involved with this work, please reach out to our network.
We look forward to seeing you at our next event.
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