While President Trump prepared to deliver his “State of the Union” address, Mothering Justice Michigan Executive Director Eboni Taylor offered a “State of the Mama” address to highlight disparities and inequalities Black mothers face and to challenge the public and policymakers to take action.
“For everyone who is tired of Trump’s alternative facts, we’re offering an alternative to the ‘State of the Union’ with our ‘State of the Mama’ address,” said Taylor. “Black mothers are struggling to raise our families in safety and with dignity. We’re calling out the problems and calling on policymakers to fix the systemic racism and sexism that deprives Black women and our families of the resources we need to thrive and survive.”
In her address, Taylor noted that while Michigan has made improvements in some programs, there is much more to be done to address the “weathering” that Black women experience—the stress caused by the bombardment of racism and sexism. She noted that weathering has real and measurable impact, including poor health outcomes for Black mothers and their families.
“High stress is problematic for anyone,” said Taylor. “But when it’s coupled with the struggles of being a disenfranchised mom, it’s deadly — not only for her but for the entire family.”
During the address, Taylor shined a light on Black maternal health disparities and the systemic racism and sexism within the health care industry. In addition to health care reforms, Taylor demanded improvements to safety-net programs that support many Black mothers, including child care and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, among others.
“The work we’re doing in Michigan is making an impact across the country,” said Mothering Justice founder and National Executive Director Danielle Atkinson. “Our work to pass federal reforms benefit everyone and Michigan’s program improvements can serve as models for other states.”
The “State of the Mama” address also reminded politicians to respect Black women voters by supporting the programs and addressing the issues prioritized in the “Mama’s Agenda.” Taylor promised that Mothering Justice will conduct one of the largest polls of Black women in Michigan, a pivotal state in the 2020 elections, to determine the priorities of Black women voters.
“Our vote comes with action on issues that we care about,” said Taylor. “We know that the challenges women of color—and specifically Black mothers—face is a strong indicator of how this country treats marginalized groups. Our issues need to be centered in political conversations. We invite you to help us center the mama.”