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Meet YWCA’s ‘Black Birthing Matters’ Panelists

On Wednesday, Jaunary 20, YWCA Central Carolinas will be live streaming our racial justice and advocacy forum, ‘Black Birthing Matters: A conversation on Black maternal health and reproductive justice,’ at 6pm. You can register in advance here.

According to the Center for Reproductive Rights, Black women are 3 times more likely to die from pregnancy related complications than white women. Preterm birth and low birth weight are also more prevalent among Black births across the country. These startling statistics, and the recent introduction of the Momnibus Act, point to the need for a larger conversation about reproductive justice and systemic racism. Conversations such as these are necessary to create healthier outcomes for Black births. 

Join YWCA Central Carolinas as we have a candid conversation on black maternal health, relevant public policy and what is really going on in birthing spaces. 

This virtual discussion will feature panelists Shavette Campbell, MPH, Maya Hart, MSW, and Tomeka Isaac, MBA. The panel will be moderated by YWCA Central Carolinas’ community engagement manager, Jamila Green. Meet our panelist below:

Shavette Campbell, maternal health, advocate, expert

Shavette Campbell, MPH (she/her)

Shavette Campbell hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but has resided in North Carolina for over a decade. Shavette serves as a Project Manager for the Center for Disease Control Foundation; working as the liaison between CDC Foundation and NC DHHS, Communicable Disease Branch, to best support the State of North Carolina in public health programming disease and outbreak response.

Shavette earned her Masters of Public Health from East Carolina University with a concentration in Community Health and Health Behavior. She also received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UNC-Greensboro. 

She is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) and is a DONA International Certified Childbirth Doula. Shavette serves as the Vice President and Executive Board member of Empowering Brazilian Youth (EBY), a non-profit organization located in Sergipe, Brazil. Shavette supported EBY during her undergraduate practicum in Sergipe, Brazil, and continues to provide support through health education promotion, program planning, and community research. 

Shavette enjoys traveling, latin dance, spending time with friends and family, and fighting for social justice and health equity.

Maya Hart, dula, reproductive justice expert

Maya Hart, MSW (they/them/she/her)

Maya Hart (any pronouns) is a Black, queer mama, organizer and birth worker based in Durham, North Carolina. They graduated in 2020 with their Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a concentration in Community, Management, and Policy Practice. 

Prior to joining SisterSong, Maya was a volunteer doula at YWCA of Greensboro, providing support for Black and brown birthing people and historically marginalized communities.

She believes that we have the skills and knowledge to keep our communities safe and provide the support needed to care for our babies, children, and families. Maya currently serves on the Board of the Carolina Abortion Fund.

Tomeka Isaac, Jace's Journey, reproductive expert

Tomeka Isaac, MBA (she/her)

Tomeka Isaac is from Kenansville, a small town in Eastern North Carolina, where everyone is family and everyone knows someone who knows someone who is related to someone. In 2017, She set out to find decent healthcare for her pregnancy with her son Jace. This journey would set her stranded in uncharted territory.

Losing Jace caused Tomeka to re-examine the facts of their medical diagnosis to see what happened, what needed to change, and what could be done to prevent this from happening to anyone ever again.

The tragic, yet preventable death of Jace and almost losing her life in the process birthed an unbridled passion and purpose to spread awareness and to be a catalyst for change as it relates to racial and implicit biases faced by African American women and infants on a daily basis.

Tomeka’s ambition for Jace’s Journey, a nonprofit organization she co-founded in 2019 with her husband Brandon and serves as Executive Director, is to work towards eliminating the disparities in maternal and infant health through education, advocacy and community engagement.

If she can save at least one life on her quest to change the hearts and minds of the people responsible for providing African American mothers proper healthcare, she will have made an impact. She intends to save many more lives than that. It’s her promise to all the mothers and children out there and to the one that made this all possible, Jace Alexander Isaac.

Lugenia Grider (she/her) – Moderator

Lugenia Grider has more than 20 years of experience working in maternal child health as a consultant, perinatal educator, birth doula and preceptor. Assisting healthcare systems, government agencies, and higher-education institutions specifically in developing evidence-based curriculums, shared decision making tools, knowledge base content, implementing quality improvement initiatives, student programs to address maternal child health disparities and innovative strategies to foster patient education and relations. Specializing in integrating a holistic approach using evidence, best practices and patient centered care.

A Lamaze Certified Perinatal Educator, DONA-trained Birth Doula, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, Co-Founder of Queen City Cocoa BEANS, AABC-trained Birthing Assistant, Visionary and Program Manager for the first Lactation Consultant Training Program at a HBCU in the US and nominated for a NC Health Equity Impact Award by the NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Living her mission and purpose to bring optimal health and transformative care to women and families through education, advocacy and support.