The Sisters Keeper Collective was formed in 2014 in response to the poor birth outcomes that disproportionately affect Black women and babies in the U.S. Nationally, Black babies die at over 2 times the rate of white babies, and Black women are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy related causes than white women. In places like New York City, Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die of pregnancy related causes. These trends are present across class lines. There are many layers to the cause of this disparity, but racism and oppression are at the root. An African American woman with a Master’s Degree who is healthy and is seeing the best doctors still has a significantly higher chance of dying in childbirth than a white woman with a high school education who has received little or no prenatal care.
Understanding the vital role that skilled labor support plays in improving birth outcomes especially for marginalized women, the Collective trains women of color to serve women of color. If a mom has a negative birth experience, or feels shame or hurt or not listened to, it impacts how she mothers. It impacts her ability to bond with her baby and make decisions for his or her care. It causes ripple effects that affect her entire community. Having a member of the community by her side who looks like her and understands her experiences first hand is key in providing her with the kind of care she needs and deserves.
The Sisters Keeper Collective has served over 350 mothers since 2014.