Community—this is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to write in my entire life. I will do my best to convey my thoughts carefully and concisely. I will probably offend someone and I certainly don’t mean to. I am simply trying to speak and share from my heart.
I was born and raised here in Albuquerque and I chose to stay here for college and graduate school because my family was here and my roots were strong. This is my home and this is my community; opening Dar a Luz within my community was a no-brainer. I feel a deep sense of pride being a New Mexican and being part of such a rich culture, full of diversity. But I also recognize that I am a White woman who, despite my New Mexican roots, will never understand the deep and profound racial inequalities and injustices that happen every single day in every single way to people of color. I want to understand and I don’t want to be part of the problem. I know that this is not enough.
Here at Dar a Luz, we pride ourselves at being a woman-operated non-profit freestanding birth center, offering the opportunity of a normal, low-intervention birth to pregnant people and their families. We are the experts at normal and we have tried our best to create a space that is inclusive, mindful, and peaceful. But this is not enough.
We are an amazing group of women who have dedicated our professional lives to making Dar a Luz an outstanding place where pregnant people of all backgrounds regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status can bring their babies into the world. But this is not enough.
We are outraged by the current events and we do not condone or tolerate any sort of racism. But I would be remiss to not acknowledge our lack of racial diversity within our staff and the clients we serve. I admit, I don’t know what to do about this at this very moment. I do know that we can open ourselves to dialogue about how we can change what we do to support our community of color. We will open ourselves to the difficult conversations so that we can make change within our walls, within the specialized care that we offer, and most of all, within ourselves. But this is not enough.
The World Health Organization has named 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife:
“Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They are, often, the first and only point of care in their communities. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030.”
We are on the frontlines of healthcare with a global pandemic that has also disproportionately affected people of color in every single way imaginable. While we can’t make a dent in the need for 9 million more nurses and midwives, we can at least help locally. Dar a Luz will be awarding two scholarships to the University of New Mexico College of Nursing: one to a baccalaureate student of color (hopefully with a passion for maternal child health) and one to midwifery student of color in hopes of diversifying the fields of contemporary nursing and midwifery and in hopes of bringing their knowledge back to their communities. I realize this is a tiny fraction of what can be done; we have to start somewhere. Again, I know this is not enough.
I want to have the dialogues (which I know will be harder for me) that need to take place and should have taken place so long ago; I don’t expect our community of color to start the conversations but if you have anything you want to share, I hope that you will. You can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505.924.2229 extension 2. Dar a Luz will always strive to do better and be better, even in the face of discomfort. We will try, over and over again, until it is enough.
With Humility and Gratitude,
Abigail Lanin Eaves, CNM
Executive and Clinical Director