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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Black Families Nationwide to Stage First Ever Nationally-Coordinated Baby “Lift UP” on August 29th

— Celebration marks 3rd annual Black Breastfeeding Week —

Baby Lift Up Celebration During Black Breastfeeding Week

New York, NY — On August 29th at 3pm EST, black families across America will meet in pre-determined locations in key cities to lift their babies in unison as a sign of support and empowerment for babies. The first-ever National Baby “Lift Up” is part of the third annual Black Breastfeeding Week celebration, a highly anticipated week-long multi-media campaign to increase awareness and support for breastfeeding among African American families. The theme for BBW 2015 is Lift Every Baby, giving a cultural nod to the black national anthem, Lift Every Voice & Sing, at a time when the black community has been facing unprecedented unrest.

“We are seeing our children lives being undermined, undervalued and under attack by negative media stereotypes. As parents and advocates we are excited to make this powerful, visual demonstration to the world that we lift up, support and cherish our babies,” says Kimberly Seals Allers, a co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week and director of the First Food Friendly Community Initiative (3FCI). “If you can lift your baby, whether he is 8 months old or 8 years old, then we want to see you at the Lift Up.”

“Lift Ups” are already scheduled to occur in Charlotte, Detroit, Milwaukee, Portland and Atlanta with more cities being added (See all location details at www.BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org).

“Breastfeeding is one of the many ways black families lift up their babies by giving them the best start at a healthier childhood,” says Kiddada Green, executive founding director of the Black Mothers Breastfeeding Association in Detroit and a co-founder of BBW. “We also do this by reading to them as babies, advocating for their education as they grow, feeding them nutritious meals and practicing good self-care as parents so we can be at our best.”

“Drawing on the strength and empowerment of our black national anthem is particularly important right now,” says Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka. co-editor of Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers (Praeclarus Press) and a BBW co-founder. “Breastfeeding is also an act of self-determination and power and we want to celebrate that.”

Other activities for the special week include:

* The “So Strong. So Us” Art Contest: Whether we are sustaining the best of our culture or elevating it to new heights, artistic expression is at its heart. It helps us to remember who and how we are, even as we aspire. We are calling on the visual artists among us to pay tribute to our culture and inspire the future as we Lift Every Baby. Submit your image electronically here for a chance to be featured at the Charles Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit during the BMBFA Breastfeeding Summit.

* The #LiftEveryBaby Twitter Chat: Our debut Twitter chat had over 10 million impressions and this year’s timely #LiftEveryBaby twitter chat will be a dynamic conversation about all the ways we lift, cherish and support our children.

Get all the details and updates at www.BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org and the BBW Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter @BlkBfingWeek and use the hashtags #BBW2015 and #LiftEveryBaby.


About Black Breastfeeding Week:
Founded in 2012 by three nationally recognized breastfeeding advocates, Black Breastfeeding Week is an annual, week-long multi-media campaign from August 25-31st to raise awareness of the health benefits and personal empowerment of breastfeeding in the black community. Despite the proven benefits of breastfeeding for mothers and babies, for over 40 years there has been a gaping disparity in breastfeeding rates between whites and blacks—the reasons are complex. However, increasing breastfeeding rates among black women is a critical health imperative in the black community. BBW is an empowerment week to increase awareness of the critical role of breastfeeding in improving maternal and child health outcomes and reducing infant mortality rates in the black community. The week is also dedicated to celebrating all of the ways black families support healthy and strong infants from supporting breastfeeding to early literacy and good nutrition. Learn more at www.BlackBreastfeedingWeek.org

Black Breastfeeding Week in the News (sampling):
Tom Joyner Morning Show: http://www.blackamericaweb.com/2014/08/15/jacque-reid-talks-black-breastfeeding-week-embracing-men-in-the-process/
BabyCenter.com: http://blogs.babycenter.com/mom_stories/black-breastfeeding-week-why-more-black-moms-should-breastfeed/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kimberly-seals-allers/why-ferguson-has-everything-to-do-with-black-breastfeeding-week_b_5736568.html


About the Founders:

Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning journalist and a leading commentator, speaker and consultant on breastfeeding issues, with an expertise in African American women and racial disparities in breastfeeding. Kimberly’s is a respected thought leader in the field, presenting at Congressional hearings, for the National Medical Association and the First Lady’s Partnership for a Healthier America, among others. As a consultant, Kimberly develops internal audits and strategic messaging and communication initiatives with organizations to improve the programmatic outcomes of their infant health initiatives. She pioneered the concept of “first food deserts”—communities that severely lack the resources and sentiment for mothers to easily provide the optimal first food—breastmilk. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation recently awarded a three-year, $425,000 grant to fund a pilot program she conceived to turn “desert-like” communities into more supportive “First Food Friendly” environments. A former writer at Fortune and senior editor at Essence magazine, Kimberly’s fifth book, a behind the scenes analysis of the battle for every infants’ first meal will be published by St. Martin’s Press in the spring. She is also the founder of www.MochaManual.com, an award-winning parenting website for African Americans. A graduate of NYU and Columbia University, Kimberly is a divorced mother of two who lives in Long Island, NY with her children.

Kiddada Green is the founding executive director of the Detroit-based, Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association (BMBFA), co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week and sits on the advisory council of the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters and Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program. Mrs. Green is a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellow and works tirelessly to increase breastfeeding rates for African Americans. As the founder of BMBFA, she is committed to supporting families, and training public health workers on cultural competence in breastfeeding support. As a member of the expert panel, she put forth recommendations for The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. Kiddada holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree in the Art of Teaching from Oakland University. In 2012, Mrs. Green was recognized as Healthy Child Healthy World’s May Mom on a Mission and serves on the executive board for her child’s PTA. Kiddada Green is a proud and devoted wife, mother of two and educator.

Anayah Sangodele-Ayoka is an innovative culture worker leveraging digital media to impact health and parenting. She writes and speaks about breastfeeding, maternal health, motherhood and personal empowerment as a healthcare practitioner, mother and activist. Anayah is a co-founder of Black Breastfeeding Week and co-editor of Free to Breastfeed: Voices from Black Mothers (Praeclarus Press) and graduate Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner student at Yale University. Her work has been written about on Salon.com, HuffPost, Ms. Magazine and many parenting and breastfeeding blogs.


Kiddada Green, Kiddada@bmbfa.org
Kimberly Seals Allers, kimberly@mochamanual.com

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