Doula training Scholarship Fund

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BLACK  BIRTHING PEOPLE AND BABIES

ARE DYING DURING BIRTH AND SOON AFTER.

“...OUR SILENCE WILL NOT PROTECT US.”* {Audre Lorde}



Wassup yall! My name is Sumayyah “Sumi” Franklin* and I am the foundress and Creatress of Sumi’s Touch birth and postpartum services. I have been offering Fullspectrum doula trainings for some years now and one of the most common questions I receive is: 

“ Do you offer scholarships or sliding scale?” 

Up until now, I have been giving from MY pockets to ensure that my trainings are accessible. BUT this is not sustainable. Therfore, I am asking you to give to what will become a community funded scholarship fund to fill this gap. To address the medical apartheid in this country. To suport in a tangible way in the vitality and thriving of Black birthing people and babies. Doulas are an essential part of the solution in addressing this silent genocide happening. This ask is two-fold: 

1) can you donate now to get this fund up and runnning?

2) can you commit to donating each month to keep this fund sustainable?

3 ) can you share and spread the word so that others can also support? 



*Sumayyah “Sumi” Franklin is an international Fullspectrum Doula, traditional Midwife, and reproductive justice advocate raised and based in Oakland, Ca. She has been offering Services since high school and training doulas since July 2015. She has currently trained hundreds of doulas from all around the world. You can learn more about her here: www.sumistouch.com

These funds will go directly to:

1) Offering Full and and partial scholarships for students of Sumis Touch doula training school. 
 
2) Funds to compensate Sumi to offer direct services to those who arent able to pay the full asking price. 

3) Providing stipends for food and travel for interns of Sumis Touch. 

***I will be referring to Midwives and Doulas together as a team becuase thats how we roll. We are a package deal. A doula is a non-medical provider who supports people with educational, physical, emotional, and spiritual support during abortion, miscarriage, pregancy, birth, and the postpartum period. A midwife is someone who is a primary care provider who provides care to people throughout thier reproductive journey including but not limited to fertility, contraceptive suport, pregnancy, abortion, birth, postpartum, and boyond! The doula is the midwives right hand and may be a stepping stone in the journey of becoming a midwife.  However, Sumis Touch will be directly training folks to be doulas not midwives***

Why Fund BIPOC ( Black, indigenous, People of color) to become Doulas?         

~Black birthing people and babies are dying at epidemic rates in the U.S. Recent CDC data shows that black biething people are 3-4 times more likely to die during birth than white birthing people. In some communities, black birthing people are 12x as likely to die during birth as white birthing people.
RACISM is causing black birthing people and babies to die.

~Research shows that financial status, lifestyle, education and access to medical care do not protect black birthing people from dying in birth. (Black birthing people with advanced degrees are more likely to die during birth than white birthing people who did not complete high school and don’t receive prenatal care.)

~The stress of racism harms Black birthing people’s bodies. Researchers use weathering to explain black birthing people’s physiologic response to systemic and medical racism, as they 1) endure life in a country where they experience chronic systemic racism, and 2) confront medical racism when they seek healthcare.

~91% of midwives in the U.S. are white.[1] Only 2% of midwives in the U.S. are black, far underrepresenting the population (12.7%) of black people in the U.S. While there is no reliable estimate for the number of doulas in the US, we can infer that the makeup is quite similar to that of midwives. 
One of the contributing factors for having such low rates of both midwives and doulas is that there are few effective programs that provides anti-bias training. in fact, Research shows that medical students and healthcare providers continue to believe that black people feel less pain and “black skin is thicker than white skin.” Healthcare institutions are required to offer “cultural competency” training, but fail to address healthcare providers’ deeply held, unconscious beliefs regarding race. This is also seen amongst various doula trainings. If we arent directly speaking to it and centering and amplifying the voices that are the most impacted then we are allowing space for such basis is to continue to kill us. 

WHY IS THIS SCHOLARSHIP FUND IMPORTANT

Doulas are an essential component to stopping this maternal and infant mortality and morbidity crisis in the US. This is because they act as a liaison, they can be a buffer to the crass treatment and neglect that many BIPOC experience, they offer continuous support no matter the setting, and they can accompany anyone since thier scope is non-medicalized or regulated. 

Studies show that when doulas are present shit shifts. We see how the birthing outcomes across the board improves. We see how people are simply living more and thier babies too! 

By supporting me in training more BIPOC doulas you are making a direct impact on addressing this silent genocide. This is a tangible action to suport in keeping us alive. 

WHAT BLACK WOMEN KNOW, BUT WHITE WOMEN WON’T ACKNOWLEDGE

U.S. midwifery and doulaship represents the problems of White Feminism. Nearly all midwives and doulas in the U.S. are white - the culture of the midwifery and doulaship in the U.S. centers around whiteness. While white midwifery and doula models (i.e. the pervasive model of midwifery and doulaship  in the U.S.) claim to be “with women”, the lack of black, indigenous and midwives and doulas of color show that midwifery and doulaship in the U.S. is “with white women.”


The History of Midwifery and the Doula Profession in the U.S. is white-washed . . .

Pioneers of midwifery and doula work in the U.S. took wisdom from BIPOC without credit.

Example:

~Ina May Gaskin discovered technique of resolving shoulder dystocia from indigenous Guatemalan midwives, yet it is credited in ob textbooks to her. (the Gaskin maneuver.)

~Gaskin presents herself as an “expert” in maternal death during childbirth. Yet she fails to understand the connection between racism and black maternal death.

~Gaskin herself was trained by southern granny midwives.

~Klaus and Kennell, “pioneers” of the doula profession in the U.S. and founders of D.O.N.A (dona.org) found the benefits of continuous labor support while researching birthing Guatemalan women and a research assistant, Wendy Freed, broke protocol to give them more attentive care.



Systemic Racism
Deprives BLACK, INDIGENOUS and WOMEN of COLOR
of Intergenerational Wealth and Financial Mobility,
DEPRIVING THEM OF RESOURCES REQUIRED FOR ACCESSING TRAINING AND MENTORSHIP.


Systemic Racist Policies, (see “Redlining”) have historically prevented black families from accumulating wealth. In the U.S. today, for every $100 of white family wealth, black families only have about $5.04.

(“FHA explicitly refused to back loans to black people or even other people who lived near black people. As TNC puts it, ‘Redlining destroyed the possibility of investment wherever black people lived.’”[2])

Legacies such as these (and how Black and Indigenous bodies were seen as property, and still are, and how such sentiments are the premise of capitalism and thus requires us to be at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in order for such system to exist) prevent and at times make it impossible for Black and Indigneous POC to access the resources and trianing needed to become midwives and doulas. We have the passion. We have the capacity. We just need the funds to suport us in doing our work. 

This is the start, the seed money, in a scholarship fund that will expand our capacity to train more people and provide more direct services to those who otherwise wouldn’t have the financial means. 

You can become a monthly donor by following the link below:

www.sumistouch.com/donate 

Donations (0)

  • Anonymous 
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Organizer

Sumayyah Franklin 
Organizer
San Lorenzo, CA
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