Sister to Sister International has been in the forefront of promoting awareness and systemic change around the Black maternal health crisis in the United States and its impact on Westchester County and the region.
Aftershock & Black Maternal and Child Center of Excellence Ribbon Cutting
In this regard, on Thursday, November 10th, Sister to Sister International (STSI) and Community Partners hosted a screening of the award-winning documentary, Aftershock and a Ribbon Cutting for the creation of a Westchester County Black Maternal & Child Center of Excellence. The event was hosted at the Grinton I. Will Library in Yonkers.
Special greetings were delivered by the Hon. Jewel Williams Johnson, Health Committee Chairperson of the Westchester County Board of Legislators and Hon. Shanae Williams, Yonkers City Council representative. Well wishes were also shared by Hon. Chris Johnson, Westchester County Board of Legislators and Andrea Stewart Cousins, NYS Senate Majority Leader, in abstention.
The evening continued with a momentous ribbon cutting by Sister to Sister International, founder Cheryl Brannan, and community partners including the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, Dr. Angela Campbell, Executive Director; Birth from the Earth, founder Nubia Earth Martin; IOE President, Cheryl Hunter Grant, Westchester County Department of Health, Assistant Commissioner, Ashley Hardesty DePietro, St. John’s Riverside Hospital, Dr. Kay Scott and Barbara DiNoto, Director of Maternal Health Services, former Legislator Ruth Walter, along with various other supporters including Andrus, National Council of Negro Women, Westchester Black Women’s Political Caucus, Westchester County Women’s Agenda, Westchester County Women’s Advisory Board, Zonta International, to name a few.
Sister to Sister International (STSI) will serve as the oversight and coordinating body for the Black Maternal Child Center Excellence. This innovative project is the first of its kind in Westchester centering Black women and the birthing process, including their offspring up to the age of two. The BMCCE will be collaborative in nature building on our existing collective impact relationships with founding partners, including the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, Birth from the Earth, Woman to Woman Obstetrics and Gynecology, IOE Total Consulting, St. John’s Riverside Hospital and the Westchester County Department of Health.
According to Cheryl Brannan, STSI founder, “We have collective goals and objectives for the BMCCE and are grateful to work with many diverse and committed community partners, as we seek to make important progress and impact in our community.” The vision for the BMCCE is that every Black birthing person has reproductive rights and is seen, heard, and cared for with dignity in excellence. The mission of the BMCCE is to create lasting solutions to racism, unequal access to healthcare and poor outcomes for Black birthing people and their children in Westchester County and beyond.
The audience was engrossed as the evening continued with a screening of the compelling award-winning Hulu documentary, Aftershock that highlights the loss of local families due to preventable pregnancy and post-partum deaths. After the screening a highlight of the evening was a “Talk Back” with special guest Bruce McIntyre (single dad & activist) featured in the film, moderated by Nubia Earth Martin, founder of Birth from the Earth, and also featured in the film. During the “Talk Back” Mr. McIntyre discussed the Save A Rose Foundation, that he created along with the WOMB Bus a mobile unit designed to educate women in the Bronx. He stated, “We want answers. We want change. We seek justice in honor of the women that are no longer with us, and those that are in fear of suffering the same fate. We want more black mothers to hold and love their babies.”
The question-and-answer segment of the program provided all guests the opportunity to ask important questions of the presenters, along with a culminating call to action by Cheryl Hunter-Grant.
The very enlightening evening ended with networking, refreshments and a tour of the womb bus parked outside of the library. To become involved in this movement email firstname.lastname@example.org and to make donations go to s2si.org/donate and https://www.savearosefoundation.org/