Our hearts feel heavy, and we know many of yours are as well.
We hear the pain and outrage being expressed by our Black and Indigenous communities and we acknowledge that as primarily white presenting persons our community of doulas and educators has played a role in the disenfranchisement of others. The senseless death of Black and Indigenous persons has stopped us on our path, and we are welcoming you to become more mindful as we journey forward.
Many of us at the Doula Canada are parents who emphasize with the desperate or fear-filled cries of a child calling out for help. No community should have to endure the devastating and violent loss of a life due to racism, violence, and systemic inequity. We grieve for Black and Indigenous persons in our communities. The deaths of George Floyd, Chantel Moore, and Regis Korchiski-Paquet are just a few of the deaths that lend themselves to the discussion about how racism has too often led to tragic outcomes, and without any acceptable explanation.
Change. New, reimagined policy and a kind, inclusive culture is absolutely needed at all levels and in all corners of our society to ensure equity and justice. This includes equity and justice in birthing environments, access to care, and equitable support. We can make a change. We must make a change.
At Doula Canada we have a diverse community – persons of all colors, communities, backgrounds, beliefs, genders, and interests – join birth work weekly. We are invested in the interests of all of our students, and want everyone to feel like they fully belong in this special place of learning.
Our work at Doula Canada revolves around supporting our students with the tools to tend their wellness, on a physical level, but also on emotional and spiritual levels. Inequality and systemic racism most certainly impact wellness. They are a root cause of disease and we, as a society of birth workers, must name the root cause of the disease that affects the health of our community and individual members. The fundamentals of this doula community has always been to honour life in all its forms. At its very core that is what doula work hopes to achieve – the support and celebration of life.
This past week Doula Canada participated in the #amplifymelanatedvoices campaign, Blackout Tuesday and muted our social media, newsletters, and events throughout the week in order to highlight BIPOC birth workers, teachers, businesses, and creators in Instagram stories. We paused, listened, reflected, and let other voices be heard. We will continue to listen.
Many of you in our student community and colleagues, educators, and friends reached out with resource lists, specifically networks of BIPOC birth workers. We are so grateful for that. Thank you for being a part of Doula Canada. Thank you for helping us be a part of the discussions of change.
Here is what we are learning and how we will continue to participate in this movement for change:
- We understand that we as people and as a business have a responsibility to educate ourselves about institutional racism and to take actions, big and small, immediate and ongoing, to support change. Change can only happen when we acknowledge a problem and that we may be a part of the problem. This calls for self-examination and is something we’ve approached in the past but we have prioritized and amped up these efforts this past week and consider this an ongoing process. The Doula Canada leadership team has committed to educating ourselves further about ongoing, unjust, deeply rooted systemic racism that is unfair, painful, and even life-threatening for so many. We have been conversing with many of our students and contributors and we are seeking out resources for learning. As a next step, we are putting together an educational program for our internal team. It starts within.
Here are programs and books you may consider to start this important work:
- Woke Without the Work course from Rootwork Herbals
- Beyond Inclusion, Beyond Empowerment: A Developmental Strategy to Liberate Everyone by Leticia Nieta with Margot F. Boyer and co-authors
- Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- Racism & Privilege in Birth Work by Birthing Advocacy
- It is good to start within with deep reflection and learning, but action is necessary by all organizations. Everyone can do better. To this end, we are committed to continuing to take a deeper look at how we as an officially registered incorporation can make choices in support of organizations for BIPOC communities and a more just society. Action will continue beyond one week; we are only just beginning this work. If you have an organization that you feel would benefit from the support of our Doula Canada
community please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- We recognize that we can do better to diversify our marketing and our curriculum. This means that we are working to represent more voices and faces in media and written contributions moving forward. In March 2020 we interviewed for the BIPOC Coordinator role and find ourselves still waiting for the acceptance of someone for that position. We recognize that this is an important role on our team and we are committed to finding the right person for this position soon. If you are interested in applying please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume to start the conversation.
We also put a call out to our community about blogging opportunities that anyone can apply to and are encouraging BIPOC birth workers and writers to apply. We will not ask for your time or your effort for free. We are reaching out to BIPOC birth workers to share your message and your knowledge on our platform. We hope that together we can share the correct history of how doula work has come into its present forms through many different cultures and traditions. If you are interested in applying please email email@example.com with your resume to start the conversation.
- We have been exploring ways we can diversify our educational programs as we continue to work on course development. We will be auditing all Doula Canada program and creating opportunities to represent traditions from various cultures in our curriculum for all programs. We hope to work with birth workers who are connected to these heritages and who are involved in practicing doula work as a continuation of these traditions.
- This past week, we asked our community to share with us the social media accounts of some of their favourite Black birth workers. Thank you to those of you who shared with us! We have begun following these accounts and will continue to share the important messages they post. We look forward to learning from these doulas and educators.
While change doesn’t happen overnight, we will actively pursue these initiatives now and into the future.
We acknowledge that many of us directly involved at Doula Canada benefit from white privilege. We present as a white woman-owned and -operated organization, and we will not claim that we can understand the pain that our Black and Indigenous members have felt.
Please know that as a “school” and as your educators we accept the responsibility to unlearn the ingrained values of privilege. We work to relearn, to engage in crucial dialog, to bring diverse voices and faces to our platform, and to enrich our offerings with wider cultural representation.
Many members have reached out to express feelings, share experiences, provide insight and suggestions for ways to be more inclusive, as well as to offer grace, encouragement, and motivation as we emphatically support change. We cannot promise we will get it right every time, but we will put our best intentions forward and we will sustain these efforts to ensure Doula Canada is representative of its members.
We are dedicated to using our voice and our platform to help drive and support the path to healing and change.
Shaunacy King (Director) & the Doula Canada Team
Doula Training Canada Inc.