Celebrating Unity and Healing at the San Francisco County Black Birthworker Retreat

Pictured above: Dr. Theopia Jackson Ph.D., Presenter​

Birthworkers, healthcare providers, educators, and community advocates converged on November 2, 2023, for the San Francisco County Black Birthworker Retreat, a collaborative effort co-hosted by UCSF EMBRACE, the California Preterm Birth Initiative, Black Women’s Health and Livelihood Initiative, and Expecting Justice. This gathering served as a crucial nexus for the Black birthwork community, emphasizing the importance of unity and resilience.

Themed "Coming to the Kitchen Table: Nourishment for the Village," the day unfolded at the Futures Without Violence office with a communal breakfast and a welcome address by Elizabeth Summers. The event aimed at fostering growth and fellowship, channeling a collective spirit dedicated to healing within the community, and caring for the birthworkers who exert such a deep amount of labor to care for Black birthing people.



The program featured thought-provoking discussions, including a keynote by antiracist educator Dante King addressing anti-Blackness and internalized white supremacy within the Black birthworker community. Dr. Theopia Jackson emphasized the balance of addressing harms while uplifting the power of joy. Throughout the day, community building activities and reflections, co-facilitated by Summers, deepened the connections among attendees.

The retreat highlighted the importance of preserving community stories, as demonstrated by "Momma Swag" Lanitra Williams during a moving tribute in the memorial segment. Jackson further expounded on the vision and values of Africanness/Blackness, celebrating Black excellence and paving the way for the EMBRACE Reveal & Launch.




Anika Carter, Seminar Co-Lead, brought the day to a powerful close with "Setting the Table: EMBRACE Black Wellness Seminar 2.0," laying the foundation for EMBRACE's continued journey towards Black wellness and liberation.

The day concluded with a wrap-up and closing ritual led by Summers, followed by a vibrant network mixer that allowed birthworkers and advocates to connect, share insights, and establish lasting collaborations.




The San Francisco County Black Birthworker Retreat was more than an event; it was a celebration of resilience, unity, and the profound power of communal healing.