Vision 2020: From Representation to Power Through Breastfeeding
Greetings ROSE/ROBE family. In these stressful times, where we are all reminded of true human fragility and reliance on our Higher Power, we must regrettably cancel our 2020 ROSE conference. However, it is important that I speak to my family concerning the theme that has been put on my heart for 2020.
From Kwame Ture and Charles Hamilton’s work Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America we get the quote “[Black] Power means proper representation and sharing of control. It means the creation of power bases, of strength, from which [black] people can press to change local or nation-wide patterns of oppression—instead of from weakness. It does not mean merely putting black faces into office. Black visibility is not Black Power.”
According to this theme, we want to declare our people’s requirement to move from minority representation in the field of Maternal and Child Health policy (and programming) to Black and minority influence, in both the academic and professional spheres. This theme, once again, highlights the history and purpose of the health equity initiatives initiated and developed across our country and World, and requires us to value our community members who lovingly share their experiences and desires for their MCH healthcare system.
In our struggle to bring forth the problems of [Black] maternal and infant mortality, breastfeeding initiation and duration, and all the maternal and child health issues to which we have dedicated our lives, we take the time to reflect over the numerous gains we have made, at the local, state, and national level, and take time to thank the servant-leaders who have dedicated their passion in sacrifice to our worthy cause.
At the same time, we must always remember that representation is not power. Black and minority faces do not imply a serious undertaking of the Black agenda. This year, ROSE wants to honor the work our communities have done, and are doing, as we serve to keep our agenda on the fronts of our minds, and as we partner with allies and revolutionaries in other communities. No matter who is in power, we must push our agenda.
We must continue to revise the vision. We must let mothers and babies in the most forsaken, marginalized parts of our country know that we are there in Spirit and in truth. And we will do so until they expect us. Until they hope for us, as we hope for them. We will not be satisfied with Black representation. We will listen to Black mothers. And we will fight for their rights to have true power in the information they receive, and the healthcare they and their babies receive. This is our calling. And we will follow it until we can run no more, at which point we will gladly give this birthright, this struggle, to the young mothers and the young servant leaders who will carry our power further than we ever can.