The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) began its equity journey before I started in 2017 and that work will continue long after I am gone. We continually strive to center equity in both our internal processes and external programs. One area of pride for the USBC is having one of the most diverse Board of Directors in the country.
Hopefully, you’ve noticed some of the other ways the USBC is centering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Earlier this year, we invited organizations in our network to participate in a DEI interview and survey process. This was our first step in seeing how DEI is operationalized in the world of lactation. The USBC team also completed the DEI interview and surveys, and we have more work to do as well. Our next steps are to clean and code the data, share the findings with you, and collectively figure out the next steps to advance DEI in our field.
Organizations that participated in this interview process and individuals who volunteered with the USBC were offered complimentary registration to FACTUALITY, a 90-minute facilitated dialogue, crash course, and interactive learning experience simulating structural inequality in America. We are hosting this workshop on Friday, December 10, 2021, at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Interested in joining? For a $25 donation you can participate in the workshop. Attendance is limited: register today!
But that's not all. Early in 2022, we will host another DEI training on the fundamentals of data equity with We All Count. You’ll hear more about this session when we open registration, but here's a sneak peek on what we'll be learning together:
[We All Count] “trains people in how to bring data equity to their work. Our training is grounded in a philosophy of practical, meaningful change. While the underlying theories around data equity are important, we believe that practical actions need to be the priority, matching the urgency and severity of the effects of data inequity.”
The USBC recognizes that racial disparities in human milk feeding initiation, duration, and exclusivity result from structural and systemic barriers that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. We need to do better in order to realize the USBC vision of thriving families and communities.
As a white cis woman, it can feel vulnerable to face my privileges and the ways I participate in systems that perpetuate inequities, but that is nothing compared to the harm that is done to individuals without my privileges. Stepping into DEI work isn’t about generating guilt and shame (because neither of those emotions are very productive). Rather, DEI work allows us to know better, so we can do better. Equity is a journey, not a destination – cliché, I know – but there are always ways to listen to voices that have historically been silenced, so that you (and your organization) can contribute to creating a better future. Please join all of us at USBC on this important journey.