By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer
A little girl will take exceptional care of a cherished baby doll, taking her everywhere she goes, making sure she “eats,” combing her hair, patting her back to soothe imaginary tears, and putting them down to sleep when it’s nap time. Just like a mother with a real child.
In an effort to help real babies get off to a good start, the Sacramento Valley Section of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) spearheaded a Black Baby Doll Drive in support of Black Maternal Health Week. The local group is also supporting a bill, US Congressional 2021 Momnibus Act – Black Maternal Health – HR 959. Introduced by U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-Illinois), HR 959 directs multi-agency efforts to improve maternal health, particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups, veterans, and other vulnerable populations. It also addresses maternal health issues related to COVID-19.
The Black Doll Drive was a collaboration with the NCNW San Francisco section and local chapters of the Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta and Sigma Gamma Rho sororities. Support also came from the local Black Child Legacy Campaign. Members used their individual connections to garner donations and organizers amassed 347 dolls the day of the drive. They’ll continue to collect them as they continue to drive awareness of the Black maternal health bill.
“Hopefully the legislation will pass soon and begin the process of eliminating Black pregnant women and infant mortality and the best prenatal and postnatal health care for all,” said Vicki Boyd, the Sacramento Valley Section’s Third Vice President of Advocacy & Community Engagement.
The drive also drew support from Sacramento Assemblymember Jim Cooper.
“It is clear that Black women and their infants do not receive the same care that other women do during their pregnancies,” Assemblymember Cooper said.
“This unequitable care has led to drastically higher mortality rates among Black infants and mothers during and after pregnancy. I fully support any efforts to address this unacceptable trend,” he continued.