Region VII Update (Jan-Jun 2020)

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Greetings from the land of the midnight sun! As the summer winds down, the sun is setting just before midnight.

I recently had the pleasure of speaking with Candace Mabbitt, the Washington State Affiliate President and government Affairs Committee District 7 Representative. She shared so many exciting projects the affiliate is undertaking to advance equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). One of the brilliant decisions they made was to have a student co-chair for their committees. Washington is banking that the intentional use of students in leadership will continue as they transition into practice. Candace wants us all to know that she has a wonderful energetic and focused board working together with their EDI Committee.

Here is just a snap shot of their activities to date: Washington has committed to financial reparations, donating at least $5,000 to 11 local organizations supporting Black lives. They supported six scholarships to attend the ACNM Annual Meeting – three for student midwives, two for students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or person of color (BIPOC), and one to a practicing midwife. Next year, they will include a scholarship to a practicing midwife of color (MOC). Additionally, they have subsidized membership fees for a minimum of ten Washington student MOC or practicing MOC. In Washington, all students and retired midwives do not pay affiliate dues.

In 2019, Washington developed the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, dedicated to listening to and amplifying the voices of BIPOC midwives. All committee projects will have an EDI focus and must include efforts towards dismantling racism, including grassroots advocacy, marketing, and education for members and communities. Additionally, all board projects will be reviewed to ensure an EDI lens was taken when considering how we operate as an organization. Candace is a relatively new midwife who is completing her first American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB) cycle. She states, “I don’t think I have done anything innovative or creative; I am just learning how to actually listen and am willing to make mistakes.”

Candace said she is willing to “fail forward.” I think that is a principle we all should adopt. We need the courage to see that the status quo is wrong and the fearless humility to make change, understanding that sometimes missteps will occur, and that other times life changing innovation will take place. Regardless, we will continue to move forward stronger together.