Roots of Labor Birth Collective on Decolonizing Birth/102

Kate Hansen

Kate Hansen

This week on the podcast we begin to traverse into the history of reproductive justice and how colonization, sexism, class, and racism impact all areas of birthing and medical practices. Ayana’s conversation with Roots of Labor Birth Collective extends beyond most reproductive justice discourse. It will stretch you to think about justice, autonomy, and decolonization. Roots of Labor reminds us that we must confront the legacies of violence we have suffered under, both as perpetrators and survivors.

Before globalization and colonization, before the health economy, people were able to take care of their own. This statement isn’t intended to romanticize or philosophize, but to remind us that current regimes seek to disempower us – to create a dependence that necessitates their existence. As Western infrastructures fail, networks of folks deeply committed to liberation, like Roots of Labor Collective, are creating different possibilities.

Roots of Labor Birth Collective (RLBC) is committed to providing support and care for birthing members of our community. RLBC consists of birth doulas of color. We strive to reflect the communities we serve, while uplifting and caring for ourselves under these guiding principles: decolonizing birth, honoring birth, empowering ourselves and each other, and sustaining doula work.

Elena Aurora is the Co-Founder and Education Director of Roots of Labor Birth Collective. It is her honor to organize with the radical and inspirational doulas of the Bay Area, California. She is mixed race, Peruvian and European descent, and has an environmental project called Woke n Wasteless that queers the conversation between the disposability of stuff, and the disposability of people of color.

Juju Angeles is an active doula of RLBC. Currently occupying Ohlone Territory (West Oakland, CA) & serving the Bay Area, Juju is a mother, homeschools, works with plants, and supports people through their pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum journey. Founder of Babymamahood, an online platform to dismantle, reimagine, and reclaim solo parenting for women and people of color in the hood.

Join us in conversation as For the Wild dedicates this week to exploring ancestral legacies around birthing, how we can invest in reproductive rights outside of the current hetero-patriarchal capitalist white supremacist system, the womb space as a place of creation, and birthing support as a human right.

+ Action Points from Roots of Labor Birth Collective +

+ Credit and listen to Black women, and other people of color who are defining Reproductive Justice. If your reproductive organization or circles do not have multiple people (or women) of color in leadership positions, then do not support them. One at the top does not count.

+ Redirect your resources to organizations that are doing POC centered birth work, and who are led by people of color. You can do this by sponsoring people of color to take the RLBC doula training, or sponsoring a full training so we can offer them for free.

+ Hire a doula for your birth, or your friends birth.

+ Stop buying baby items and doing large registries, consider hosting baby stuff swaps and events to reduce waste in our waste stream.

+ Support homebirth midwives, hire one for your birth or concurrent care. Sponsor a friend to hire one.

+ Use cloth diaper services to divert waste from the landfill. Those dirty diapers will outlive your children.

+ Divest in big oil who are the main causes of climate change and are poisoning our people, and putting POC communities at the front lines of destruction and climate-related disasters. These environmental injustices increase the Black, Brown, and Indigenous infant and maternal mortality rates.

Music by Jason Marsalis, Irvin Mayfield, & Climbing PoeTree

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