February 2024

Happy Black History Month from the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative (AAIMM)!

Black History Month allows us to reflect on our collective history and recognize achievements and contributions made by our ancestors. This month is also an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding work that continues today and will be built upon in the future. Our AAIMM programs are extensions of long-held traditions that we celebrate as part of Black history, as shared experiences within the African diaspora.



Doulas (also known as birth workers) have long been recognized as experienced and compassionate birthing companions by the families they serve, but were dismissed by the western medical system. Only in the past couple of decades have doulas been recognized anew as professionals, rooted in community. In their role, doulas provide emotional support, guidance, and comfort to families throughout the pregnancy experience, regardless of outcomes. Along with assisting during the birthing process, doulas contribute to parents’ holistic well-being by imparting valuable and culturally competent knowledge on prenatal care, nutrition, interventions, and coping strategies. Doulas provide a safe space during one of the most intimate and vulnerable moments in a birthing person’s life, where they can share their fears, hopes and joy. 

As advocates for informed decision making, doulas are an added support and protection for Black pregnant persons within the birthing care team for expectant families. The presence of birth workers fosters a sense of empowerment and strengthens the communal fabric, as the wisdom passed down between generations forms a vital part of cultural continuity. Through their commitment to enhancing maternal health and the sacred journey of childbirth, Black doulas exemplify the amalgamation of tradition, compassion, and resilience, enriching the tapestry of cultural practices surrounding childbirth. 

As we continue to champion equitable birthing outcomes in the United States, doulas remain at the forefront of efforts to eliminate racial disparities in maternal health and promote reproductive justice. Thanks to the advocacy of dedicated birth workers, including those within the AAIMM Doula Program, doula services were added as a covered Medi-Cal benefit in 2023 by the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS). 


Learn more about AAIMM’s Doula Program HERE




Fathers who are actively engaged during the pregnancy journey, offering steadfast emotional nourishment, support and protection, foster positive birth outcomes. Historically, the involvement of Black fathers transcended the birthing moment, encompassing the entire gestational period, during which fathers participated in rituals, ceremonies, and discussions focused on the well-being of the mother and the unborn child. This comprehensive approach to fatherhood cultivated a sense of unity and communal responsibility. 

In the U.S., Black fathers have maintained this responsibility, being anchors of support to their children and families often in the face of discrimination and widespread negative stereotypes. AAIMM recognizes, embraces, and celebrates Black fathers as catalysts for building strong communities and healthy families. AAIMM has created space through our Fatherhood Program for Black dads to build relationships in brotherhood while accessing the tools they need to prepare for their integral role in the family.  


Learn more about AAIMM’s Fatherhood Program HERE




In many African societies, community is not merely a physical space but a dynamic and interconnected network where individuals collaborate, celebrate, and navigate life's challenges together. This communal ethos is deeply rooted in the principle of Ubuntu (meaning “humanity” in Bantu), emphasizing the interdependence of individuals within the community, epitomized by the saying, "I am because we are."

Black American culture embraced Ubuntu in the way that communities were built and thrived through collective resolve. One example was historic Black Wall Street in the early 20th century in Tulsa, Oklahoma. This section of North Tulsa—at the time an affluent oil town—comprised a prosperous Black community. Mrs. Viola "Mother" Fletcher, author of Don't Let Them Bury My Story: The Oldest Living Survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Her Own Words, who recently visited Los Angeles, reflected on the community and the destruction it endured due to racism. 

Despite centuries of adversity, the beauty of our Black history is our ability to continually showcase our resilience, solidarity, and strength as a people when we present a unified front. The strength of our community shows through grassroots organizing, collective activism and advocacy, and the support networks we have built to champion equality.  

AAIMM’s Community Action Teams share this legacy throughout Los Angeles County, bathing our communities with the joy of knowing that we are not alone in this journey. We are in this together. 



Get involved with AAIMM’s Community Action Teams HERE


Upcoming Events and Opportunities 

Theology in the Hood presents: Viola “Mother” Fletcher The Oldest Living Survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre




LA Metropolitan Churches (LAM) is thrilled to announce the celebration of Black History Month 2024 and the eagerly awaited return of “Theology in the Hood,” a vibrant and essential community listening experience in the heart of South Los Angeles. LAM is not a church. It incorporates contemporary Black Life with a foundation rooted in faith principles, combining tradition and modernity in its approach to community organizing.

This enlightening three-day event runs from February 2-4 (see breakdown of activities below). This event will feature a historic conversation with the esteemed African-American icon Mrs. Viola "Mother" Fletcher, the world's oldest living author and survivor of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Co-author Ike Howard will join her, alongside the renowned actor, author, and activist Jennifer Lewis as moderator.

The schedule is as follows:


Friday, February 2, 2024: CHANGEMAKERS IGNITE 

Doors Open: 3:30 pm

Event Hours: 4-6 pm

Participate in meaningful discussions about race, culture, and the pursuit of self-reliance, a unified community, equality, inclusion, and belonging. Dr. Didra Brown, Ph.D., MPH will moderate. Panelists include Author Viola “Mother” Fletcher and co-author Ike Howard. 



Saturday, February 3, 2024: THE MAIN EVENT

Doors Open: 12:30 pm 

Event Hours: 1-3 pm

A captivating historical and intimate conversation with Viola "Mother" Fletcher, with the notable distinction as the oldest living author in the world, and co-author Ike Howard, as they discuss their remarkable book "Don't Let Them Bury My Story: The Oldest Living Survivor of the Tulsa Race Massacre in Her Own Words." Acclaimed actor, author, and activist Jennifer Lewis and Dr. Didra Brown, Ph.D., MPH will moderate. Families are welcome for fun, learning, and engagement. 



Sunday, February 4, 2024: GIVING THANKS

Service: 11 am 

Event: 1:30–3 pm 

Reflect on the Black Worship Experience. The Black Church Experience takes you on a transformative theological journey on Day Three. Enjoy fellowship and lunch after service, take photos with the author, and get books signed by guest preacher, Rev. Dr. Robert A. Taylor of Empowerment Temple AME in Baltimore, Maryland.


For questions or more information, please email [email protected].



The California Abundant Birth Project (CA ABP) is now in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties


CA ABP is a guaranteed income program that provides cash during pregnancy. It was developed by Expecting Justice and the community to make birthing healthier and safer for the people facing the greatest risk during their pregnancy journey.

CA ABP provides cash with no strings attached as a strategy to prevent stress during pregnancy. Research shows that reducing stress can help to prevent babies from being born too early or too small and can also protect the health of the mother or birthing parent. By providing unconditional cash, parents have resources to support themselves and their families, and babies have the chance at a healthy start.

Applications are now open! Learn more about CA ABP HERE.  



Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible to participate, applicants must:

  • Live in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, or Riverside counties
  • Be 8-27 weeks pregnant
  • Have a household income under the following for each county:
  • Alameda: $128,017
  • Contra Costa: $132,360
  • Los Angeles: $106,911
  • Riverside: $81,581
  • San Francisco: $156,995
  • Identify with one or more of the following risk factors for preterm birth:
  • Are Black or African American
  • Has had a previous preterm birth (live before 37 weeks)
  • Have preexisting hypertension (including preeclampsia, before this pregnancy)
  • Have preexisting diabetes (before this pregnancy)
  • Have sickle cell anemia (SCA)
  • Not currently participating in another guaranteed income program.




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