BELA Community Project Awards

We are thrilled to announce the 2018-2019 Community Project Awards made through our Birth Equity Leadership Academy (BELA)TM and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation!

These awards provide financial assistance and technical support for the following BELATM community leaders’ initiatives and projects:

Delmar Bauta

Delmar Bauta is a disabled, afro-latinx, queer, non-binary transgender birthworker, advocating for families in South Florida. They began attending births as an interpreter for the Deaf and then as an advocate for teen parents in 2000. Since then, their mission has been to advance birth justice, particularly for Black, Brown, immigrant, queer/trans and disabled communities.

The Leadership Pipeline Project will prepare and support people of color (POC) to assume leadership positions and advance birth equity within national and local midwifery organizations. The goal is to restore midwifery to a more inclusive model in which the needs of clients, midwives, and students of color are centered.

Award Amount:  $15,000

Ileana Berrios

Ileana Berrios is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) working with families in underserved communities since 2007, when she began as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at the local WIC office in Philadelphia. She has since established Breastfeeding Latinas, a social media lactation support and consultation and home visiting private practice, and in collaboration with Naima Black from Maternity Care Coalition, Ileana co-wrote a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Training Curriculum which has been used to train more than 45 women of color in underserved communities every year.

The vision for this project is that all families receive robust breastfeeding and childbirth support throughout the critical period of pregnancy through age one in a manner that enables lifelong health and wellbeing, through collaboration with Northeastern Temple University Medical Clinic and Episcopal Medical Clinic, and with the support of Maternity Care Coalition’s Community Breastfeeding and Doula Network.

Award Amount:  $15,000

George Wesley Bugg

Wesley Bugg is a 2016 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law (JD, LLM), and 2013 graduate of Emory University (BA). He is currently the deputy director of Court Vision International Inc., a nonprofit that promotes youth advocacy and conflict resolution, and he serves Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere (ROSE) as the Legal Compliance Officer and financial assistant, aggregated into his role as Financial and Legal Operation Coordinator.

This project will help women, men, and their families to feel empowered to seek, receive, analyze, and establish culturally competent childbirth and breastfeeding information, resources and tools in their communities.

Award Amount:  $15,000

Monica Esparza

Monica Esparza has been doing breastfeeding work for more than 8 years by serving families in her community as a breastfeeding peer counselor. Currently the Deputy Director of the New Mexico Breastfeeding Task Force, Monica believes in centering community members and families as experts in their own lives and communities and establishing supportive systems where all families are able to achieve their own breastfeeding goals.

This project will cultivate connections between hospitals, clinics, and community programs in New Mexico, to increase understanding of existing services, to simplify referrals, and to ensure families have continuing care after hospital discharge.

Award Amount:  $4,594

Carmen L Green

Carmen Green is National Training Director for the National Birth Equity Collaborative (NBEC), where she has been responsible for partner communications, research, content creation and community engagement since 2015. She also serves as a CBPP State Policy Fellow focusing on health and Medicaid in Louisiana at the Louisiana Budget Project, and leads a business, Hazel Green, LLC, to assist grassroots programs in advocacy through data and storytelling.

The Birth Story Project will create an outlet for healing for mothers who have experienced trauma and for birth workers who have experienced birth trauma, and will identify where birthing women are feeling supported to uplift what’s working and what’s failing for birthing women in Louisiana. The project is designed to create a strong collaborative foundation of community voices, birth workers, healers and social justice advocates who hold providers and hospital systems accountable for birth trauma and provide tools for sustained policy change.

Award Amount:  $8,000

Jacqueline Lambert

Jacqueline Lambert is a community breastfeeding peer counselor and Executive Director of Let’s Talk Baby.

This project will create a space where women of color and their families can come and receive prenatal information, childbirth education, and breastfeeding support in a non-threatening atmosphere, to achieve the goals they set for themselves and to talk about issues they face and meet with other moms.

Award Amount:  $7,000

Carrie Murphy

Carrie Murphy is a birth doula and freelance writer living and working in Albuquerque, NM. Passionate about equity and diversity in reproductive health, she is also a founder of the UNM Birth Companion program, which provides free volunteer doulas to incarcerated, uninsured and Medicaid families birthing at University of New Mexico Hospital.

The New Mexico Doula Association is an inclusive, birth-justice focused organization that seeks to educate about and advocate for the role of the doula in the community and maternity care settings, while working to make doula care more accessible to and equitable for families throughout the state of New Mexico. Its founders believe that all New Mexican families have the right to affordable, non-judgmental, and culturally-competent support in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Award Amount:  $2,460

To-wen Tseng

To-wen Tseng is a freelance journalist who writes about parenting, education, family life style, and maternal/infant health for a variety of publications. Prior to freelancing, To-wen was a talk show host at KSCI-TV and then a correspondent at World Journal. She got a rude awakening when returned to her previous newsroom after giving birth to her first child in 2013, and since then, she’s been dedicating her career to advocating for family-friendly policy and gender equity at the workplace, blogging about breastfeeding as a human right, and speaking out about breastfeeding barriers.

This project introduces the newly founded Asian Breastfeeding Taskforce to its local community and seeks to normalize breastfeeding in the Asian Community, combatting stigma with an empowering photo shoot and online gallery.

Award Amount:  $5,594

Nicole Marie White, CPM

Nicole Marie White is a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and an activist who has caught babies in a variety of settings and in several languages around the world. She is Director of State Advocacy for the MANA board as well as liaison to the Access and Equity division, was appointed by the Governor to the State Board of Midwifery in Michigan, and received a 2012 fellowship in Detroit to work on public policy surrounding the inequitable rate of African American maternal and infant mortality.

Birth Detroit is committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity in the city of Detroit. Everyone has been born. Birth is at once an ordinary and extraordinary event. With a rich curriculum for prenatal classes, active and respectful education and engagement, Birth Detroit fuses the midwifery model with social advocacy to create safer, healthier, more educated families and communities through an innovative mobile clinic model.

Award Amount:  $7,350