6 ways we need to be there for black moms this Mother’s Day
Cassandra Welchlin is executive director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable. She is an award-winning community organizer, social justice activist, and licensed social worker who has spent her life campaigning for the rights of working-class women to equal pay, affordable childcare, and health care in her home state of Mississippi, the South, and across the country, among others uses . In her own words, Welchlin explains how her own upbringing shaped her faith and, more importantly, why she believes black mothers need to be encouraged this Mother’s Day.
Like many black people, I grew up poor and didn’t know it.
I was raised in Jackson, Mississippi by mostly women which included my mom, grandma and aunt. The women in my life often struggled to put food on the table, turn on the lights, and take care of me because they had low-paying jobs, mostly with no health benefits and no days off. My mom and aunt were maids in the 1970’s and made only $2.13 an hour. When I was preschool, they took me to work and hid me in closets while they cleaned the toilets and emptied the trash. I played patty cake and ate lunch in these cupboards. At that time I thought that all children go there. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that this was my childcare story. My family didn’t make enough money to send me to daycare or preschool, let alone trips to Disney — the pinnacle of the childhood experience usually reserved for the rich and their kids — in nearby Florida.
As I compare the harsh reality of the mothers in my life then to the most vulnerable mothers among us today, especially single mothers, I am concerned and devastated. You should be too.
The statistics paint a clear, painful picture: this country is failing millions of black mothers economically, politically, and medically, leaving generations of black families like mine stranded.
With literally deadly consequences: Black mothers in the US face a disproportionate burden of maternal mortality and morbidity compared to white mothers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), black mothers are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white mothers. This significant public health issue highlights the systemic racism and health care inequalities faced by Black women in the United States. So what’s behind it?
- Lack of access to health care: Black mothers most likely live in areas with limited access to health care facilities and providers. This makes it more difficult for them to receive the prenatal care needed for a healthy pregnancy and to access emergency care if complications arise.
- Implicit Healthcare Bias: Black mothers often face racial discrimination and implicit healthcare biases, leading to misdiagnosis, delayed treatment, and inadequate care.
- Economic inequalities: Black mothers are more likely to live in poverty and have limited access to resources such as nutritious food, safe shelter and transportation. Of course, this can have a negative impact on their health and that of their children.
- Lack of Social Support: Black mothers often face social isolation and a lack of support during pregnancy and after childbirth, which often leads to increased stress, depression and anxiety, which can negatively impact their health and that of their babies.
And these babies die too: Black toddlers are most likely to die before or within their first year of life across all ethnic groups.
And when they survive (especially for black children), gun violence has been the leading cause of death ever since 2006), how do we feed them? As you read this, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and other lawmakers are pushing for tighter food stamp restrictions that would put already hungry black families at risk of including seniors amid debt ceiling concerns.
All of these truths reinforce my belief that not only do we owe Black mothers and their families an astronomically better existence this year and every year, but that we as citizens must do our part to help our government pass legislation to make that possible , to hold responsible So.
Here are (at least) six ways America is committed to being better for Black mothers and their families this Mother’s Day.
Nationwide paid family and sick leave
Most black moms — more than 80% – are main earners. Still, Research The Center for American Progress found that six out of 10 black mothers either do not take their maternity leave or take it without pay to care for newborns, sick family members or themselves when they become ill, costing them US$3.9 billion -dollars in lost wages costs each year. The US can change that by finally passing legislation like the long-proposed family and medical leave (FAMILY) Act that would give workers up to 12 weeks of partial income replacement for qualifying events such as the birth or adoption of a child, serious illness or injury to a family member, or the worker’s own serious medical condition. Employee and employer contributions to a national trust fund would fund the program.
Pass legislation focused on black mothers’ health
guidelines like that Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021a package of 12 bills addressing maternal health inequalities through a comprehensive set of initiatives are expected to achieve, among other things: Crucial investment in social determinants of health that affect maternal health, such as housing, transportation and nutrition, and providing funding for community-based organizations like mine, the Roundtable for Black Women in Mississippi, working to improve maternal health and promote equity.
Vote against a law that won’t feed black families
To reduce the federal debt, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-California) and other lawmakers intend to do what they have always done: sacrifice the well-being of Black and other minority families by passing 4, Propose $5 trillion The Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023One of the goals is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a government aid program in the United States that provides nutritional assistance to low-income people and their families. If this or a similar law is passed, hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans, including 19.5 million children, will face higher hurdles to food aid, including the elderly — hurdles that will leave them starving.
Passing a new child tax credit law
The 2021 extension The introduction of the federal child tax credit resulted in a historic reduction in poverty in the United States, particularly among children. Adults with young children ages 0 to 5 received refundable credits of $3,600 per child, and those with children ages 6 to 17 received $3,000. These benefits provided an unprecedented number of low-income families—Black, Native American, and Alaskan-born families—key financial relief so mothers could better feed, clothe, and house their children. The census’ supplemental measure of poverty showed that those poverty rates fell most dramatically for black children — by a whopping 17 percentage points. More of this please as the current legislation expires after the 2025 tax year.
The goal is to restore and strengthen key provisions of the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965, which aimed to eliminate discriminatory voting practices designed to disenfranchise black voters. Passing it would help black mothers by protecting their right to vote in states where they are under constant attack like mine, and combat the systemic racism that has existed since black people’s right to vote was secured, promoting justice and empowering their voices in the political process.
Finally close the pay gap for black women
Closing the federal pay gap would make a world of difference for black mothers and their families. Not only is it incredibly important, but it’s also fair and right. Black women earn, on average, only about 63 cents for every dollar white men make. That gap is even wider for Black moms, especially those in the South (in Mississippi, it’s a measly 56 cents on the dollar—locally we’re campaigning for a change in Mississippi dues). Equal Pay Act which continues to deprive black women of their livelihoods). A federal financial boost Paycheck Justice Act This would be fundamental for black families and would be life changing. It would promote economic stability, improved access to health care, reduced stress and anxiety for better mental health, and improved educational opportunities for black mothers and their children – the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.