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MCU Response to Open Letter by Demetra Seriki

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The Midwives College of Utah (MCU) denounces the role that racism, implicit bias, and microaggressions play in the midwifery profession, in midwifery care, and in midwifery education. We acknowledge that communities of color continue to suffer from deep health inequities, that pregnant persons are being harmed, and that babies are dying. This is unacceptable. Midwives, midwifery educators, midwifery leaders, and other birth workers must take ownership of these inequities and work diligently to redress. This requires us to trust, listen carefully to, honor, follow the wisdom of, and acknowledge the experiences of people of color. We must believe people of color when they say they are harmed by actions, inactions, and words. This requires white people, allies, and white-run institutions to turn the lens critically inward and unpack their privilege, to overcome their white fragility and reflexive defensiveness, and finally to step up to follow the recommendations of the leadership of color. Together, we must engage in brave conversations – conversations that are hard, that are uncomfortable, and that are deeply important and necessary. Alongside our talk must also be transformative action.

On September 21st 2017, Demetra Seriki, CPM, RM, of a Mother’s Choice—and the only black midwife in the State of Colorado—released an Open Letter of Accountability and Transparency to the Colorado Midwives Association. We stand in solidarity with Demetra and are proud to call her an alumna of the Midwives College of Utah and a valued member of the MCU community. The eight action points outlined by Ms. Seriki in the letter are reasonable, necessary, and deeply important for the midwifery profession and childbearing families everywhere. We support the eight action points outlined in this letter and believe that all midwifery organizations and educational institutions should heed the call to action. At MCU, we have a longstanding commitment to social justice and equity as well as ongoing actions to meet the call. We stand in support of Demetra and of communities of color. Let us repeat: there is no place for racism, implicit bias, or microaggressions in midwifery.

In solidarity,

Midwives College of Utah Senior Leadership Team

Kristi Ridd-Young, President
Tamara Taitt, Academic Dean
Courtney Everson, Graduate Dean

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