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August 25-31, 2021: Black Breastfeeding Week


WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to reducing infant mortality and increasing the health outcomes of birthing persons and babies during National Breastfeeding Awareness Month; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to uplifting the lived experiences of Black families and babies; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to disrupting racism to celebrate, honor, respect and protect Black birth and Black breastfeeding; and,


WHEREAS, Black residents of Michigan have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to determining the impact of COVID-19 on Black pregnancy outcomes; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan is committed to making birth and parenting safer through respectful clinical-community integration practices and interventions to reduce and prevent inequities experienced by Black birthing persons and babies; and,


WHEREAS, pregnancy-related maternal mortality ratio for Black women in Michigan is 2.4 times higher than that of white women and Black infants are dying at 2.6 times the rate of white infants in Michigan; and,


WHEREAS, these high rates of infant death have been attributed to infants being born too small, too early, and too sick. Too many infants are susceptible to viruses and infections that can put them at an even greater risk of death. An appropriate intervention to prevent some of these deaths is through breastfeeding; and,


WHEREAS, breastfeeding provides countless benefits to the nursing infant including easy digestion, production of antibodies, reduced risk of sleep-related death, and reduced risk of infections and childhood obesity, and to the breastfeeding person, including faster recovery from birth, lowered cost, and reduced risk for postpartum hemorrhage and uterine cancer; and,


WHEREAS, Black Michiganders are at risk for high rates of obesity and other nutrition-related conditions due to the lack of access to healthy food, health care and other essential determinants of health in the communities where Black babies live; and,


WHEREAS, there is a significant need for a targeted and accelerated Black-led and Black-centered approach to improve Black breastfeeding rates so that these rates begin to meet the national benchmarks set forth by Healthy People 2030; and,


WHEREAS, Black families face unique cultural barriers, misinformation, gaps in support, lack of diversity in the lactation field and insufficient promotional effort about said benefits; and,


WHEREAS, during this week we are dedicated to broadening the public's understanding of the critical impact that breastfeeding has on improving the health of infants and mothers and reducing infant mortality rates within the Black community; and,


WHEREAS, the Black Breastfeeding Week founding committee members have deemed the 2021 theme, The Big Pause: Collective Rest for Collective Power;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, join with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding supporters, and especially Black-serving breastfeeding organizations statewide to hereby proclaim the week of August 25 -  August 31, 2021, as Black Breastfeeding Week in Michigan.