Mi Milk Collective
Mi Milk Collective centers Black birth and breastfeeding to combat infant and maternal mortality and addresses a slate of structural inequities and indicators that lead to breastfeeding disparities. We are a statewide collaborative that includes, but is not limited to, Black-led community organizations, coalitions, hospital systems, birth workers, and lactation professionals. Each organization and or person that forms part of the Mi Milk Collective is dedicated to supporting the people, organizations, and birth workers who are advancing equity and justice for Black families.
Mi Milk Collective is a standing workgroup that is dedicated to operationalizing system change through sisterhood, mentorship, policy advocacy, and celebration of Black birthing and Black breastfeeding. We do this, in the words of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, by listening, trusting, and investing in Black-led organizations, Black leaders, and Black families.
Mi Milk Collective sisterhood (not cis-terhood*) is a feeling and an approach to the work that ensures inclusion of all persons committed to Black birth and breastfeeding justice, and who center Black women in the fight for equity. Mi Milk Collective also facilitates bi-monthly meetings to connect, share, and support Black-led initiatives throughout Michigan. During the months of May-September, we meet bi-weekly, convene sub-committees, and put specific focus into collaborating on local and statewide events throughout Black Breastfeeding Week.
The forthcoming mentorship opportunities facilitated by Mi Milk Collective will include an annual program with 3 Black persons serving as mentors to support 1 Black mentee and 1 Black intern. The mentee would be a role for non-traditional learners whereas an intern will be where we captivate the youth and continue to spark the minds that will continue the work well after we are gone.
The policy advocacy priority areas of Mi Milk Collective are designed in alignment with the foundational work described by the founders of Black Breastfeeding Week, titled “Top 5 Reasons Why We Need a Black Breastfeeding Week” Our current policy priorities, are:
- Equitable compensation for lactation professionals should be based on the levels of clinical skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions involved in doing the work
- Support and promote breastfeeding as a chronic disease management and prevention strategy
- Keep parents and newborns together in critical hours after birth, including crises and emergencies
- Establish health and sex education standards that include breast anatomy, physiology and function, including the composition and nutritious value of human milk
- All policies should prioritize the relationship between mother and child, since healthy attachment and social emotional development start during the first 1,000 days and are the foundation for a lifetime of optimal mental and behavioral health
The celebratory efforts of Mi Milk Collective are focused on the importance of the Black lived experience related to Black birthing and Black breastfeeding, including Black Breastfeeding Week, Black Maternal Health Week, and National Prematurity Awareness Month in addition to other events held each year. Our efforts include: organizing and amplifying events, establishing governmental support of BBW, and sharing about the resiliency and triumphs of Black breastfeeding families. MMC also plans to host an annual gala to celebrate and amplify leaders, change makers, and connectors of Black lactation supporters to resources and one another.
We stand in full solidarity with Indigenous families and colleagues as we protect and promote cultural humility in our ancestral practices and reclamation as Black and Indigenous communities as we work toward decolonization.