Black Women for Wellness has gathered women & men, community and professionals, advocates and activist on the issue of reproductive health and well being since 1999. in case you missed it, here is a synopsis of our conferences, the participants, the speakers, the facilitator, the community involved and engaged with Black Women for Wellness in moving forward our agenda of basic human rights, access to health care, education and treatment that is appropriate, affordable and accessible.
Birth Stories: Black Infant Mortality, Closing the Gap (1999)
Keynote Speakers: Kathryn Hall, Milton Lee, Dr. Kim Gregory, & Linda Janet Holmes
At Birth Stories, Black Women for Wellness’s 1999 conference, topics explored included “Black Infant Mortality…. Options for Closing the Gap,” “The History of Black Infant Health and Granny Midwives in the South,” and “How Racism & Sexism Have Impacted a Woman’s Decision & Quality of Care.” Conference participants increased their ability to identify the effects of racism on perinatal care and childbearing decisions, effective perinatal care models for Black women in California, and strategies for addressing the health of pregnant Black women from a holistic perspective. With this information, attendees were equipped with knowledge to help reduce health disparities related to childbirth.
Kindred Sisters…Healing Words (2001)
Keynote Speakers: Bertie Howard & Dr. Denese Shervington, M.D., M.P.H.
Kindred Sisters…Healing Words, Black Women for Wellness’s International Women’s Day Conference, was centered on improving our overall health together as black women. There were discussions that shared with attendees solutions and strategies of HIV prevention, why HIV disproportionately affects us as black women, and how to define our own reproductive liberty. Those present learned how to do breast and vaginal self-exams, information concerning when to schedule woman exams, and exercise activities to increase our physical fitness. This equipped us with tools necessary to live healthier lives.
Whose Womb Is this? (2002)
Keynote Speaker: Toni Guy
Additional Speakers & Presenters: Ms Latonya Slack (California Black Women’s Health Project), Marjorie Sims (California Women’s Law Center), Nana Gymafi, Allison Moore, Jenny Lam, Andria Hancock Crear, Dozella Lee, Phyllis Paxton, Dr Shereen Beverly, Akua Jitahadi, Loretta Jones, Muadi Mukenga, Norette, Nduwayo, Rosemary Spriggs, and Ann Hamon
At Whose Womb Is This?, Black Women for Wellness celebrated International Women’s Day with African American and immigrant Black women throughout the Los Angeles area. Attendees were given information and access to networks to take action in support of black women who seek health services. The overall goal of Whose Womb Is This was to equip Black women with the tools needed to increase awareness and create change for their reproductive health.
Where’s the Love, Where’s the Money?: Sex, Sexuality, Intimacy & Love – Political Acts Among African Americans (2003)
Keynote Speakers: Alicia Dixon, M.P.H. & Keisha Carr Paxton, Ph.D.
Beginning with Speed Dating the day before, Where’s the Love, Where’s the Money was Black Women for Wellness’s conference discussing issues related to the large number of African American women who are HIV+. In regards to love, the topic explored related to the confusion between love and sex that may contribute to the high rate of unprotected sex in the black community. Additionally, the importance of money was discussed for the purpose of having resources for HIV/AIDS prevention efforts among women, but more specifically among Black women.
Woman 2 Woman (2006)
Keynote Speakers: Loretta Ross & Erylene Piper Mandy
Dazon Dixon, Adjoa Jones, Toni Bond, Emma Fredu, Kali Alexander, Dazon Dixon Diablo, Melanie Hedgemon, Rosita Romero, Azeb Tadesse, Sakinah Carter, Carmen Morgan
In conjunction with SisterSong national conference, Woman 2 Woman offered a space for African American & Black reproductive justice advocates and health care professionals to focus on the reproductive health status of Black women in specific. Panels were held to help define reproductive justice and cultural competence as well as update those present on reproductive health technology. Some of the topics discussed were on fibroids and black women and holistic approaches to reproductive health. One of the highlights of the conference was the panel of African, Caribbean, and Latino Black women that showed the different perspectives and representations of all Black women.
Woman 2 Woman II: Old School to Hip Hop (2007)
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Erylene Piper Mandy, Ph.D
Additional Speakers: Dr Nina Harawa, Jamie Brooks, David Johnson, Erika Gist-Siever, Peter J Harris, Dr Shikana Temille Porter, Melanie Hedgemon, Kali Alexander, Loretta Jones, Robin Johnson MD, Felicia Eaves, Cynthia Davis, Dr Tyronne Hayes, Carmen Morgan, Julie Grigsby, Mark Wakabayash, Thandisize Chimurenga, Lola Sablan Santo, Moza Cooper, Namuyaba Temanju, Martha Dina Arguella, LaVonna Lewis Blair, Robyn M McGee, Adrianne Black
Woman 2 Woman II brought Ol School to Hip Hop generations to the table sharing lessons and lives, experience and innovation with navigating our sexual lives. Women & men gathered in discussion on reproductive health disparities negative affect on our overall health and well being. Panel discussions on Sexually Transmitted Infections, Environmental Justice in Reproductive Health, and Healthy Relationships between women & men were front and center. The keynote address by Dr. Piper Mandy shared lessons for across the generational divide of old school women and the hip hop generation. There were also workshops on Today’s Birth Control Methods, Teen Sexuality, and Beautiful Black Babies. With the information that attendees received from the discussions, women were empowered to raise awareness, take action, and advocate for our reproductive health as black women.
Serious Business: Defining Agenda, Allies & Direction (2008)
Keynote Speaker: Rev. Daniel Buford
Melissa Mills, Melisa Price, Jessica Counts Arnold, Shikana Temille Porter, Melissa Anderson, Cleo Manago, Jackie Provost, Elani Negussie, Shaunelle Curry, Valerie Reed, Errol Parker, Annitra Ravenmoon, Mesbel Mohamoud, Charlene Davis, Albert Neal, Mona Gekanku Toeque, Purusha Hickson, Erika Gist-Seiver, Pauline Brooks, Tyronne Hayes
Serious Business sharpen our lens with tools to identify the combined impact of racism and sexism on the reproductive status of women & girls. Taking into consideration the socio economic status, educational levels inside our communities, the class divisions and colorisms, conference participants were able to gather information and tools, support and affirmation on confronting the systematic barriers and challenges to reproductive choice, and basic human rights. Advocacy and community social responsibility were strong tenets of conversation at Serious Business.
Respect! Inclusion with Integrity of African American Women (2009)
Keynote Speakers: Professor Vernellia Randall, Dr. Gail Wyatt, Loretta Ross, & Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis
Respect conference defined reproductive justice as a basic human right. Taking a look at policy, both administrative and legislative impacting access to reproductive education, health services and treatment. Importantly Respect sought to share insights with health care professionals, community advocates and leadership on how to maintain integrity of services when serving many cultures, ethnicity and ages, define cultural competency for African American and Black women & girls, implement tools that grade and measure cultural appropriateness as well share models of success demonstrating care for Black women and girls. Respect conference attendees discussed solutions to help reduce epidemic sexually transmitted infections among African American girls while ensuring that young women in our community are treated with integrity and respect. The information shared at the Respect conference was a resource and tool to garner support towards reducing health disparities in the African American community that specifically target our women.
Respect Us (2010)
Health Disparities Fashion Show participants included:
Sylvia Drew Ivie, Andria Hancock Crear, Denishia Clark, Ricky Marshall, Erika Gist Seiver, Leslie Trotter, Samantha Wheeler, Tony Wafford, Jackie Provost
At the Respect Us conference, Black Women for Wellness released its Manifesto for Reproductive Justice, sharing an historical analysis and definition of reproductive justice and reproductive health for Black women in America, with the introduction of the first data set highlighting the reproductive health status of Black women in Los Angeles County.
The manifesto and data set served as background for a lively discussion on current and proposed policy impacting access, affordability and appropriateness for African American women & girls seeking reproductive health care. Highlights of Respect Us included a health disparity fashion show as a visual representation of health disparities experienced by African American community members. The conference focused on utilizing leadership development, policy advocacy, research, and alliance building to eliminate disparities.