Thank you for supporting this campaign for IBPOC (Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour) Birthworkers!

All the money raised will support two Toronto-based doula collectives: Odemin Giizis and the Ocama Collective. The Kids and Families team of SURJ-Toronto is running this campaign as part of our mandate to centre kids, youth, families, and caregivers in our organizing. We appreciate your support, in any increment (scroll down to the graphics to learn how far your dollars stretch).

To donate: send e-transfers to surjto.families@gmail.com. (For the security question, use: who is fundraising? and the answer: surjto. Feel free to tell us, in the messages section of the transfer, where you found out about this campaign.)

Doula collectives like Odemin Giizis and the Ocama Collective are critical in shattering colonial violence. Doulas are non-medical birthing companions who offer emotional and physical care before, during and after childbirth. With birth work that is centred on traditional Indigenous values and practices, Odemin Giizis and the Ocama Collective provide compassionate, culturally safe care that fundamentally changes the birth journey for Indigenous and BPOC folks who are or can be pregnant. Their work is a direct form of decolonization, liberatory practice and Indigenous reclamation that positively impacts Indigenous and BPOC families and communities. 

Since colonization, Indigenous communities across Turtle Island have been forcibly disconnected from traditional birthwork practices and subjected to obstetric violence. This violence continues in multiple forms today including the pathologizing of Indigenous peoples’ bodies, forced or coerced use of Western medicine, procedures and health settings, over-involvement of child welfare services and more. As a result of centuries of colonization and systemic racism, birth outcomes among Indigenous peoples are considerably less favourable than among non-Indigenous populations.

 

Black and POC pregnant folks in Canada also experience health risks underpinned by systemic racism and xenophobia. Black pregnant women, for example, experience stress related to both the anticipation and the experience of discrimination and anti-Black racism. This obstetric violence appears as disrespect, judgement, inconsistent support, unmet information needs, stereotyping and over-representation in acute care due to late diagnoses and management. Similarly, racialized newcomers in Ontario experience higher C-section rates, increased unattended home births, less diagnostic testing and inadequate access to information about perinatal services. These barriers are in large part due to the three-month waiting period in which immigrants cannot access OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan). Finally, a recent study found that, because racialized people have a higher likelihood of experiencing food insecurity, they were five times more likely to report a decline in overall health during pregnancy. All of these dire health outcomes reinforce the critical need for culturally safe and compassionate care before, during and after pregnancy for BPOC folks.

Indigenous, Black and POC communities have always had the knowledge and practices to support one another and resist colonization and racism. Odemin Giizis and Ocama are fantastic, emerging conduits for that knowledge, and we ask that you stand with us and give them your support! 

 

Again: we're gratefully accepting e-transfers at surjto.families@gmail.com. (For the security question, use the question who is fundraising? and the answer: surjto. Feel free to tell us, in the messages section of the transfer, where you found out about this work.)

To stay updated on this campaign, subscribe to the SURJ newsletter, follow along oninstagram and onfacebook, or email us (surjto.families@gmail.com) for more info.

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