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A recent study shows Black women are at higher risk of dying from pregnancy-related causes than white or Asian women.

Black women are more at risk for gestational diabetes, hemorrhage and hypertensive disorders, and they are three times as likely to die during pregnancy than their white counterparts.

Black women are sharing their stories of perfectly healthy pregnancies experiencing traumatic births and, in the worst cases, ending tragically with death of the parent or the baby.

Actress and advocate Tatyana Ali, shared her own deeply traumatic and life-threatening birth at the BlogHer Health 2021 event in January.

She closed out BlogHer Health 2021 in conversation with Sugaberry Founder Thai Randolph about the birth inequality crisis.

“I lived a very privileged life,” Ali said, citing her background as a Harvard-educated former child actor. “The birth of my son and my pregnancy was really my first interaction with a type of racism that could kill me and affect the health of my child.”

The 42-year-old actress said her privilege didn’t protect her from the systemic racism in the medical community.

She detailed the traumatic moments from her first birthing story — experiences of being ignored, coerced and traumatized at such a vulnerable moment that resulted in an emergency C-section and her newborn spending the first few days of his life in the NICU.

“When we left the hospital it felt like we were running,” Ali said.

It wasn’t until she was really able to connect and talk with people in the reproductive justice space — in her case, a lactation consultant — that she says it fully clicked how valid her feelings of trauma and violation were.

“When we were healing our wounds the best we could, not even knowing our story fit neatly in the statistics, a lactation consultant asked what happened,” Ali said. “When I told her, the look on her face let me know that what I was feeling was real — and that something needlessly horrible had happened.”

Ali started to connect with other organizations in the reproductive justice space — like Black Mamas Matter — and she said “the paradigm shift started to take place.”

“The guilt is something I carried with me for a very long time, until I started to hear similar stories and realized there’s something bigger happening,” Ali said. “That my story is one piece of it. And it didn’t have to be that way.”

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For her second pregnancy, Ali said, “I wanted a black midwife who I felt connected to. [Finding her] was not easy to do and there are historical reasons for that and there are corrections for that too.”

“At my [male] OBGYN I had a pelvic exam every time, he was always in it,” she said. “My midwife asked me ‘can I touch you? can I touch your belly?’ She always asked. If I didn’t need a pelvic exam, she didn’t give me a pelvic exam.”

And this second birth? It was exactly the experience she wanted and needed: “My second birth, for both my husband and I, it completely changed, it cleared up the trauma.”

To other women who are scared about their pregnancies or processing their own trauma from birth inequality, Ali urges them to feel empowered to take charge of their and to reclaim the joy of giving birth and being a new parent.

“Share your story, share it, share it, do not stop digging. You can have the type of birth that you want, the kind of support that you want. We are often talked about as a needy community, that we have more needs than anyone else. Any mother of any ethnicity knows, we need community, we need support, we need help when things go wrong. Unfortunately our systems are such that some people get those needs met and some don’t. Remember that and let that empower you to get what you need.”

 




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American Flag Jacket Wearing Insurrectionist Seen Assaulting Officers With Fire Extinguisher Identified

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In a bright American flag jacket, the man seen assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher during the U.S. Capitol Riots has been identified as 53-year-old Robert Scott Palmer.

The Huffington Post reports that Palmer can be seen on camera spraying officers with a fire extinguisher and then throwing the empty canister at them. The outlet spoke to the Florida husband and father, who complained that Capitol police hit him with crowd control munition. There is footage of him as he showed off the bruises he received to a female journalist during the riots, identifying himself as Robert Palmer from Clearwater, Florida.

Speaking with the outlet, he lamented that he didn’t do anything wrong that the Biden administration is attempting to “vilify the patriots” who participated in the riot.

“I’m just going about it and letting them make the mistakes that they want and ruin the country as they want, and I’m just trying to live my life right now,” he told HuffPost, and “wasn’t anything I had made special — [I] just bought it in a store.”

“I’m just going to just leave it like that. I’m not getting myself any — not deeper, ’cause I didn’t do anything wrong — but I’m not involving myself anymore,” Palmer said before hanging up when asked about the fire extinguisher.

Palmer has a criminal record, which includes being sentenced on battery and felony fraud charges.

HuffPost was able to identify Palmer from a tip received from a woman who is a member of an online sleuth community. While quarantining with COVID-19, the woman, only identified as “Amy,” decided to use some of her free time to track down Capitol rioters. She worked with a group called @capitolhunters to pore over video and photographs.

The FBI is still tracking down insurrectionists who took part in the riots on January 6 over Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the Presidential Election. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects who were involved in the riot.




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Mom Accused Of Keeping 7-Year-Old Home From School Due To Earache Before Killing Him

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A Georgia mother allegedly killed her 7-year-old son after telling her husband that he was staying home from school due to an earache.

Alison Jones, 36, a mother from Georgia, was charged on Monday for the murder of her son Maddox, the Athens-Banner Herald reported.

Jones fatally shot the young boy while he was lying in bed, PEOPLE reported.

The mother also faces aggravated assault charges for using the semi-automatic handgun to shoot at her husband, Douglas Jones. He was unharmed.

Authorities were called to the family’s home around 7:20 am on Monday after Douglas made a call to 911 to say his wife had shot their son and assaulted him, Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley stated.

Douglas told authorities that his wife informed him that morning that their child was sick and would stay home from school. Around an hour later, he heard a gunshot. He ran to Maddox’s bedroom, and that is when Alison turned the gun on him.

Douglas was able to disarm his wife, who then fled the scene.

The killing resulted from an hours-long fight between the two. However, police have yet to disclose a motive. Alison has yet to talk to the police about what transpired that morning.

Maddox was a second-grade student at Morgan County Primary School.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Maddox Jones, one of our primary school students,” reads a statement from Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent of the Morgan County Charter School System.

“Maddox was a beloved member of our school community and we will miss him tremendously,” the statement continues. “The school district is mourning this tragic loss along with the family, our staff and community. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.”

Jones has yet to enter pleas to the charges against her and remains in custody.




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NY Times Columnist Calls Out Pepé Le Pew For Perpetuating Rape Culture

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In keeping up with an ever-changing world, another childhood fave is being called out for problematic messaging.

Last week it was legendary children’s author, Dr. Seuss, for his work’s racist depictions of black and brown people. This week, in a NY Times Op-Ed article, a writer calls out some Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Most specifically, “Pepé Le Pew” for perpetuating rape culture.

According to TMZ, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” that highlights how deeply embedded racism is in American pop culture and points out just how early racist themes are fed to young children.

“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote.

He maintained that the French skunk, who incessantly pursued Penelope Pussycat, time after time, normalized and perpetuated rape culture, and after some readers attacked his points, he took to Twitter with an example of Le Pew’s now-cringe-worthy, problematic behavior.

“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” It’s true … Penelope Pussycat was often in Pepe’s clutches,” Blow tweeted.

“This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game,” the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK,” he explained.

Does he have a point?




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