About the Fund. The Birth Center Equity Fund was created to make birth center care an option for every person who wants it, by growing and sustaining birth centers led by Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC). One hundred percent of funds raised go to BIPOC birth centers. Today it is estimated that there are about a dozen birth centers in the United States (less than 5% of all U.S. birth centers) that are led by people of color, and fewer than 20% of people who birth in birth centers are people of color. We believe every community should have access to the expertise of midwives and the sanctuary of a birth center for their care. The Birth Center Equity Fund was created to bridge the gap between people of color led birth centers and access to capital. We honor and acknowledge the rich and dynamic legacy of BIPOC birth activism and all that is actively happening in birth center and midwifery spaces right now. We hope to make a unique contribution by building coalition among BIPOC birth centers with the express goal of growing and leveraging financial resources for our collective growth and sustainability, and to build a maternal health infrastructure that transforms the culture of birth in our communities for generations to come. The Birth Center Equity Fund is proud to be in partnership with Resist, Movement Strategy Center, and Full Spectrum Capital Partners.
Nashira Baril (she/her) a Black cis woman, is the daughter and great-granddaughter of midwives, who birthed both of her children at home and has experienced firsthand the transformative experience and liberation of midwifery support. She is the project director of Boston’s Neighborhood Birth Center, the city’s first freestanding birth center start up. With a master’s degree in Maternal and Child Health from Boston University School of Public Health and nearly 20 years’ experience designing and implementing public health strategies to advance racial equity, Nashira brings head and heart to the design and implementation of public health strategies that advance justice and equity. Nashira also works at Human Impact Partners doing capacity-building for health equity and racial justice and has a small consulting practice focused on training and organizational development for equity. Nashira is originally from Connecticut and resides in the Mattapan neighborhood of Boston with her husband and two kids.
Leseliey Welch, is co-founder of Birth Detroit. She leads a team of birth workers, birth advocates and public health workers planning Detroit’s first freestanding birth center. She has over a decade of leadership experience in city, state and national health organizations. She served as interim executive director of Birthing Project USA and Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of Detroit, where she started SisterFriends Detroit. She provided concept development and community engagement consulting in the start-up of Corktown Health Center, Michigan’s first comprehensive LGBT health center. Leseliey is on faculty in Public Health at Wayne State University and lectures in Women’s Studies at University of Michigan. She is passionate about health equity as a daily practice, a tool for systems transformation, and a policy imperative. She earned her undergraduate degree in Women’s Studies, Masters in Public Health with a certificate in Women’s and Reproductive Health, and Masters in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. Leseliey resides in Ypsilanti, Michigan, with her partner and two kids.
Link to the Article in Rewire News
How to network with the Birth Center Equity Fund:
@Birth Equity Fund email
@Birth Equity website
People, places and things mentioned on the podcast:
Movement Strategy Center
Full Spectrum Capital Partners
American College of Nurse Midwives - Diversification and Inclusion Committee
Emergence, Adrienne Maree Brown
Dr. Renee Canaday
Are You My Mother? PD Eastman/Dr. Suess
American Association of Birth Centers (AABC)
Indra has been on the front line of healthcare justice during the global Covid-19 pandemic, and joins us to discuss essential resources for birth workers and updates.
"National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) and Birth Rights Bar Association (BRBA) created this resource with the goal of affirming and advocating for the human rights of pregnant people in the United States, as well as to provide some concrete tools for pregnant people, doulas, partners, family members, and friends. This resource was inspired by our work with countless pregnant women, doulas, and other folks offering support to birthing people who had either experienced or witnessed violations during childbirth. Many folks have reached out to us for more information about their rights or the rights of their clients during childbirth, and we have heard resounding feedback from people calling for more advocacy tools both to identify these rights and promote their observance, as well as more accessible information about avenues to address harm after it has occurred."
Indra Wood Lusero, Esq., (Director, President) is a Staff Attorney with National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and Founder of Elephant Circle, a Colorado-based birth justice organization. Indra’s publications include “Challenging Hospital VBAC Bans Through Tort Liability” and “Making the Midwife Impossible: How the Structure of Maternity Care Harms the Practice of Home Birth Midwifery.” Indra went to law school after attending a MANA conference in 2005 where folks lamented not having a “hot shot team of lawyers” who could help defend midwives. Indra has endeavored to develop just such a team.
Link to the Birth Justice publication
Link to the Elephant Circle Survey on Mistreatment
Opportunity for a Paradigm Shift in Maternity Care - Elephant Circle
Other Elephant Circle resources
How to network with Indra:
@Birth Rights Bar Website
@Elephant Circle Website
People, places and things mentioned on the podcast:
Southern Birth Justice Network
National Black Midwives Alliance
National Association to Advance Black Birth
Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Cristen Pascucci - Birth Monopoly
Audrey Lorde - Uses of the Erotic
Kiara Bridges, Poverty of Privacy Rights
White Ribbon Alliance