Hello, my name is Cassaundra Jah, I am a CPM and the MEAC board president.
The MEAC board has been sending its executive director and at least one member of the board to this conference for many years as a way to hold relationship. This year in response to MANA’s January board update and our personal experiences at past conferences the MEAC board considered boycotting. Instead, we voted to speak during this time to provide clarity on our position concerning issues of justice.
There is no sustainability within midwifery without social and reproductive justice.
The definition of midwife, at its core, is to be with one who is giving birth; “to be with” is the highest form of social justice. Social justice is not just interwoven in the MEAC and MANA mission and vision statements – it is at the core of who we are as midwives, educators and accreditors. To separate justice from midwifery is to watch not only black birthing people and newborns unjustly die but to watch the death of this profession.
The MANA Board Update issue number 88 published on January 31, 2019, stated that the efforts the organization made to be socially just has at times resulted in mistakes, and that the organization would be refocusing on their mission. Boards do not forgo their mission when engaging in efforts of justice, the path to justice isn’t straight, it isn’t easy, but it is necessary. As Audre Lourde said, “Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.”
MEAC is at this conference to continue to represent one path to becoming a Certified Professional Midwife as well as to be available to our aspiring and accredited institutions, programs and the students they educate. We have chosen to stay in relationship and are committed to continued dialogue as we all strive for social and reproductive justice even in our discomfort.
November 2, 2019 MEAC Statement read at the MANA Austin, TX ‘Sustain’ Conference