Shafia Monroe, founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, seeks more Black midwives, doulas; Erykah Badu keynotes Oct. 9-11 conference

by The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey 

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Shafia Monroe, founder of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing, speaks wit’ the Block Report about how to stay healthy during pregnancy and the need for more Black midwives and doulas in the nation. She also alerts us to the fact that Blacks have by far the highest infant mortality rates, with 17 of every 1,000 Black babies dying in their first year, compared with 3-4 in other communities.

Shafia Monroe
Shafia Monroe

She strongly advocates good prenatal care and caring birth assistance to ensure that “our babies are viable universal children of the universe.” Birth is “a time of joy” in Africa, she says, and urges us, too, to celebrate our new babies. She recommends breast milk as the best for our babies and advises mothers to make it their baby’s only food. “It’s God’s food!” she says.

Also concerned about the high mortality rate of Black youth, Shafia wants us to raise our children to know they are “worthy of living, not dying.”

Learn more and meet keynoter Erykah Badu – who herself is a doula – at the ninth annual International Black Midwives and Healers Conference Oct. 9-11 in Portland, Oregon. More than 300 midwives, nurses, physicians, public health professionals, community health workers, lactation consultants, doulas, birth workers and students representing over 10 countries will be there, and Shafia hopes to recruit many new midwives and doulas to bring down the disastrously high Black infant mortality rate.

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The People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’“ and “Unfinished Business: Block Reportin’ 2“ and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe“ and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at He can be reached at