Fourth Annual National Day of Racial Healing
Today marks the Fourth Annual National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH), which is a day when communities across America take steps to move toward becoming beacons for equity in places where citizens live, work, play, pray and learn. Key tenants of racial healing are: “Respectful dialogue; Recognition and affirmation of people and their experiences; Connectedness to individual cultures, histories, and practices; and The sense of agency, nurtured through racial justice activism.”
On the National Day of Racial Healing, Buncombe County’s stark disparities in health, where black babies are 4 times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies, sits before us. Breastfeeding trends in our community indicates that, in 2017, 74% of Black mothers were breastfeeding at discharge after birth in Buncombe County, compared with 89.5% of White mothers and 96.3% of Hispanic or Latinx mothers.
The most recent Buncombe County Community Health Assessment and the 2018 Buncombe Community Health Improvement Plan identifies breastfeeding as a key, evidence based, and effective strategy to address this health disparity. On this day and every day, we must recognize that health disparities exist and children and families are more likely to thrive in equitable communities. To this end, both the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and the City Council of Asheville signed official Proclamations declaring both jurisdictions as Breastfeeding Friendly Communities in 2019.
Let us be reminded that it is our duty as a community to stand as allies and supporters of all families to normalize breastfeeding, especially in public spaces. Healing is possible; the antidote demands for us to focus on ways that we can create social, economic, policy, and educational environments that promote health equity for all. How we heal will depend on how we come together to acknowledge and remove barriers to better health for all.