Since Brittany “Tru” Kellman started Jamaa Birth Village in 2015, she’s sought to provide a community-driven solution to an ongoing nationwide health issue: the racial disparities within pregnancy-related mortality rates. African American women are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth than their white peers.
For Kellman, who endured two cesarean sections and other challenges as a teen mom years ago, that work has been focused in Ferguson, Missouri, where she lives. But earlier this week, a letter published in the St. Louis American — and signed by many women of color who are leaders in the region — revealed a major controversy that’s been festering for months.
“As black women and Missourians who organize to dismantle reproductive oppression,” the letter began, “we write to express our outrage and demand accountability for the disrespect and unethical treatment of Missouri’s first black Certified Professional Midwife [Kellman] by Mercy Birthing Center Midwifery Care.”