Voices for Birth Justice Video Series Debut

Since 2017, the heart and soul of the Preterm Birth Initiative has been its Community Advisory Board (CAB). The CAB, comprising mothers with preterm birth experience, birthworkers, and community members, participated in research, reviewed grant proposals, and made funding decisions. The CAB also provided invaluable partnership and direction for our organization overall. While the CAB was sunsetted in 2022, its impact is indelible.

In November 2023, we honored the time, energy, and creativity of the CAB by debuting a video series, Reflections from the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative Community Advisory Board. This project was conceived by the CAB and PTBi Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships Shanell Williams and created and produced by PTBi Director of Communications Areca Smit. The series debuted at the Oakland  Museum of California, which allowed us to showcase the experiences, reflections, and hopes of ten former CAB members in a beautiful and community-aligned space.

“From this series of videos, you can expect to learn of triumphs and moments of great joy, both personal and organizational, and hear hard truths. The CAB has been on a learning journey with us, and us with them. This journey is complete with growing pains along with many lessons and discoveries. Through it all, we have been bound by a shared commitment to Black birth justice — specifically safety for all Black women and birthing people — and also bound by love for each other," said Williams.

Je'Meshia Wade, operations analyst at PTBi, felt the videos directly mirrored the overall work of the team."Gathering for this VBJ debut was more than just an event; it was a celebration of shared dedication and inspiring contributions from our team," said Wade.

Reflecting on the impactful event, Loren Newman, communications manager at PTBi, remarked on the deep human connection that underpins the videos themselves as well as the efforts and impact of PTBi and the CAB. "This video series is a beautiful display of all the love and passion that the CAB has put in during their time working with PTBi. When viewing them, one could feel the connection the CAB members have with each other, their community, and their commitment to birth justice. It made me proud to be a team member at PTBi, and to see the CAB members being celebrated and their voices being amplified," said Newman.

We are excited to share this series. It’s now available to view in full on Voices for Birth Justice at: https://voicesforbirthjustice.org/cab/. If you're interested in collaborating on a screening, reach out to us. Your engagement in this storytelling initiative plays a pivotal role in propelling our shared mission forward.

We are deeply grateful for everyone who attended the event, and everyone who participated and shared of themselves—making this series possible.