What does it mean to truly love your fellow man? As February is not only Black History Month, but also the month in which we celebrate Valentine's Day, we dove a little deeper into the meaning of love. The Greek word, "philia," translates to "brotherly love." Of the four types of love described in the Greek, it is considered the highest form of love.
Brotherly love is the love for our fellow person. This is what the Village is to us: loving our fellow person, Black mothers/birthing persons and their babies, as family. Let's continue to hold each other as family while we remain steadfast in our work and celebrate each healthy and joyous Black birth.
Love also is a word that requires taking action. We’re inviting you to put “philia” into action by helping us grow the greater AAIMM village of support for Black families in Los Angeles County. You can do this by sharing our programs and resources with families who may need them, or participating in our programs if you are an expectant parent or looking for an opportunity to volunteer.
We’ve made it really easy for you to participate in growing the village by creating a text number.* Simply text the number below with the corresponding code indicating the program you’d like to receive more information about:
TEXT NUMBER: 323-745-2771
Doula Program: Text DOULA
Fatherhood Program: Text DAD
Newsletter: Text PLEDGE to take the Pledge to end Black maternal & infant births and to sign up for our newsletter (optional)
Antelope Valley Community Action Team: Text AV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in Antelope Valley
Santa Clarita/San Fernando Valley Community Action Team: Text SFV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valleys
San Gabriel Valley Community Action Team: Text SGV to learn more about volunteer opportunities in San Gabriel Valley
South LA/South Bay Community Action Team: Text SLASB to learn more about volunteer opportunities in South LA and South Bay
*PLEASE NOTE: This number is for text messages ONLY and is not monitored for phone calls.
Thank you for being a part of birthing justice history by helping us grow the village to support healthy and joyous Black births!
A Few Moments in LA County Black Maternal Health History
January 21, 1856 - Bridget “Biddy” Mason’s Petition for Freedom is Approved by L.A. District Judge Benjamin Hayes. She Continues to Work as a Midwife and Nurse in Los Angeles and Saves her Earnings to Purchase Land in Downtown Los Angeles
August 1966 - The Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School is Incorporated in the State of California as a Private, Nonprofit, Educational Institution
1968 - Essential Access Health was Established to Champion and Promote Quality Sexual and Reproductive Health Care for all
1994 - The California Black Women's Health Project is Established
1997 - Black Women for Wellness Becomes a California 501(c)(3) Nonprofit
1998 - Proposition 10 is Passed by California Voters Which Established a Tax on Tobacco Products, Generating Around $700 Million a Year to be Invested in the Healthy Development of California’s Children From Prenatal to Age 5
2000 - The California Black Women’s Health Project Moved Its Policy Office to Inglewood, California
2000 - The First Annual KJLH Women’s Health Expo
2001 - “Unheard Voices: California Black Women's Health Project” Video Documentary Produced
August 25-31, 2012 - Black Breastfeeding Week is Launched
2015 - Cinnamoms Began Hosting Support Circles at WIC Centers Throughout LA County
2015 - “Chocolate Milk” Web Series Began Screening
2016 - “Chocolate Milk” Series is Released as a Feature-Length Documentary
2018 - Kindred Space LA Began in Response to the Black Maternity Health Crisis Affecting Black Birthing People
2020 - The Kindred Space LA Birthing Center was Born
2020 - Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies, a Collaborative Effort to
Reduce Black Infant Mortality and Improve Patient Experience and Safety for Black Mothers and Birthing People in Los Angeles County, is Launched
2022 - “Birthing Justice” Documentary is Released
Bridget “Biddy” Mason
Bridget Biddy Mason (1818-1891) was one of the first landowners in Los Angeles beginning in the 1850s, having saved her money working as a nurse and midwife to purchase land in what is now considered downtown Los Angeles. She also founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles in 1872.
Although enslaved at birth in Mississippi, Mason migrated with her last owner, Robert Marion Smith, a Mormon convert, to the state of Utah. Along the 1,700 mile, 300-wagon caravan trek—which she traversed entirely on foot—Mason set up and broke down the camp, cooked the meals, herded cattle and....served as a midwife—all while caring for her own three daughters, one of which was a newborn.
Once Mason and her family reached California where slavery was illegal, she challenged Smith in a legal battle for her freedom. She successfully won freedom for herself and thirteen members of her extended family on January 21, 1856. After securing her freedom, Mason continued her work as a midwife and nurse.
Mason accumulated a fortune of nearly $3 million and served the entire community of Los Angeles through philanthropy, donating to charities and caring for the poor and imprisoned. In addition to founding the First A.M.E. Church, Mason also started an elementary school for Black children and a traveler's aid center.