Arissa Palmer, Executive Director, BreastfeedLA

“I truly believe that every parent who wants to chest/breastfeed deserves the opportunity to have that chance.”

How did you become involved in supporting Black breast/chestfeeding in Los Angeles County and why are you passionate about it?

I became involved in supporting Black breast/chestfeeding in LA County in 2015 when I joined as Executive Director for 

BreastfeedLA. I truly believe that every parent who wants to chest/breastfeed deserves the opportunity to have that chance. Supporting and advocating for Black breastfeeding isn't just about maternal and infant health; it's about equity, breaking down systemic barriers, and fostering a sense of community. By championing Black breastfeeding, we acknowledge the historical disparities that have disproportionately affected Black communities and contribute to the cycle of inequality. It's about standing together, amplifying voices, and creating a more inclusive world where every parent feels empowered to make the best choices for themselves and their child. As a white ally, I believe in using my privilege to uplift and amplify the stories of Black mothers, helping to reshape a more just and supportive society for all.


What is the most rewarding part of the work that you do to support Black breast/chestfeeding?

The truly fulfilling aspect of advocating for Black breastfeeding lies in witnessing numerous families achieve successful chest/breastfeeding journeys, even after initial struggles. Additionally, observing the transformation within the lactation profession as more BIPOC professionals take their rightful place at the forefront fills me with immense pride for my small part in this work.


What do you hope to see change for the better with regard to Black breast/chestfeeding in Los Angeles County?

I hope to see a significant reduction in the disparities that Black parents currently face in accessing breast/chestfeeding support and resources. This entails improved access to culturally aligned lactation education, consultation, and services. Furthermore, I envision a community where all Black parents are empowered and informed, enabling them to make confident decisions about their chest/breastfeeding journey. This shift should involve dismantling systemic barriers and biases that hinder chest/breastfeeding success, while fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding. In Los Angeles County, my hope is for the creation of a network of diverse BIPOC lactation professionals, who can provide empathetic, personalized guidance and care. This will not only enhance the overall health and well-being of Black families and infants but will also contribute to a more equitable and supportive society for all. Ultimately, I hope to continue to see a Los Angeles where Black breast/chestfeeding is celebrated, supported, and embraced as an integral part of maternal and infant health, rather than an afterthought, thereby fostering a thriving and empowered community.

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