Unlearning, & relearning, is not a new concept for me.
And while we prepared to reopen the clinic in June, following pandemic closures, I spent time sharing resources & knowledge via our social channels. As new information came to light, my sadness, frustration, and anger, deepened.
I was already painfully aware of racial disparities in childbirth. What I didn’t know, was that we don’t even have these statistics for black & indigenous women in Canada. What I did know, was that Canada has a nasty history of choosing to ignore the deaths of indigenous children in their residential schools.
Doulas, nurses, and doctors within our community, right here in Montreal, took to social media to share their experiences of how racism shows up in the birthing room. Did you know that black & indigenous women are more likely to not even be offered pain management in labour? Systemic racism & implicit bias is very much alive within the Canadian healthcare system.
To me, it was just another way in which women, particularly women of colour, are marginalized in our healthcare system. So many of our practice members have shared stories over the years of how their symptoms and concerns were played down, or ignored while continuing to have a significant impact on their quality of life. I’ve lived through this experience, myself. The statistics are abundantly clear.
June & July passed by in a whirlwind, but I am here now to put my money where my mouth is.
I will be allocating 1% of annual profits in 2020 towards supporting black & indigenous families in our community. This will increase to 5% in 2021; recovery from three months of mandated closures has been tenuous, to say the least. This year will be a modest contribution. It did not sit well with me to eschew making a financial contribution altogether.
What does this look like?
A portion will go towards chiropractic research earmarked towards prenatal & paediatric care; it’s been clear to me for some time now that implicit bias has shown up in the realm of chiropractic research by choosing to continue to focus on studies on back pain, while ignoring conditions more commonly experienced by birthing parents.
The rest will go towards community organizations. This will include those focused on improving birth outcomes and entrepreneurship for black & indigenous families. I’ve not yet chosen which one(s) I’ll donate to this year.
Why efforts towards entrepreneurship & increasing wealth?
I’m a firm believer in ‘voting with your dollar’. If we can lift up black & indigenous businesses, this will serve to increase the power of their voices. In the meantime, it’s up to those of us who hold a lot of privilege to use that privilege to fight racism. Allyship takes many forms – financial, participating in protests, calling racism out when you see it, to name a few.
This is a marathon and not a sprint. Rest is radical – I encourage you to think about how you can maintain consistent anti-racism work for years to come.
Want to support black-owned businesses in Montreal?
Check out blackowned.mtl on Instagram!
Dr Natasha Hayden is a pediatric and prenatal chiropractor that is passionate about helping her community discover just how good their bodies are designed to feel, so they can do more of what they love.
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