Illustration by Louisa Bertman
Journalist Zoe Carpenter of The Nation Magazine recently published an article, “What’s Killing America’s Black Infants?”. Through a series of interviews with Milwaukee-area mothers, organizations, and local advocates, Carpenter weaves together a compelling story that explores factors contributing to gaps in black-white infant mortality – in particular, the direct impact of racism on health.
… the infant-mortality gap can’t be closed without addressing broader inequities in employment, education, health care, criminal justice, and the built environment—in other words, without ending racial discrimination altogether."
Carpenter tells the stories of many community leaders participating in Milwaukee’s Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, from Tonda Thompson’s personal experience with an infant loss to Mayor Tom Barrett’s take on strategies to reduce infant mortality. The article mentions several of Milwaukee LIHF’s efforts like Strong Baby Sanctuaries, community gardens, and fatherhood initiatives, and discusses many city-wide efforts to reduce infant mortality by impacting social, economic, and physical environments.
Carpenter also spoke with local and national experts researching the impacts of discriminatory policies and stress on health outcomes:
Infant mortality is a wicked problem. It requires us to think about health less as a matter of biology and more as the result of political choices and socioeconomic realities. It has no single solution. But “the point is not to frame complexity as daunting,” said Nancy Krieger, the Harvard epidemiologist, “but actually as opening many avenues for effective action, and asking how different groups that are already engaged can understand how their issues relate to infant mortality."
To read the full article in the March 6th issue of The Nation, visit this link: https://www.thenation.com/article/whats-killing-americas-black-infants/.