Jamarah Amani is a community midwife. As an award-winning activist, Jamarah’s mission is to do her part to build a Birth Justice movement locally, nationally, and globally. She is the Executive Director of the Southern Birth Justice Network(SBJN), the parent organization of the National Black Midwives Alliance, which she also co-founded. Jamarah offers midwifery care to families across South Florida and workshops on Birth Justice to organizations across the United States.
A community organizer from the age of sixteen, Jamarah has worked with several organizations across the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa on various public health issues, including HIV prevention, maternal and infant mortality, and emergency contraception and access to midwifery care.
SBJN organizes Black midwives and student midwives to establish a representative voice at the national level that clearly identifies and supports the various needs and interests of Black birthing people.SBJN offers educational training in the areas of conception, reproductive & maternity care, family planning, abortion & miscarriage services, maternal health, fitness, nutrition, self-care, breastfeeding, and birth justice-SBJN offers a 1-year doula certification training that focuses on supportive services, maternal health/disparities, and advocacy skills to support a healthy pregnancy, termination, as well as multiple birth options.
Jamarah having a birth advocate can be lifesaving. She also for that Doulas, for many marginalized people, are essential, and they are essential workers. Jamarah Amani is also working on a documentary about Black midwives in the South. In March of 2020, as the brutality of two pandemic, Covid-19 and police violence, were devastating Black communities across America, she thought about how midwifery models of care offer profound mother wit and wisdom to answer the problems facing society. It occurred to her that if everyone had the opportunity to sit at the feet of those who have dedicated their lives to “catchin’ babies,” how profoundly and beautifully we could begin healing this world.
And now, with the development of Legacy, Power, Voice: Movements in Black Midwifery, an upcoming docuseries that will break new ground, everyone will have that chance.
This is a special project for her as she is a midwife who has had three of her four babies with midwives, including two home births after traumatic hospital birth. Jamarah knows from both sides how deeply midwives impact families and communities. With Legacy, Power, Voice, she is producing my first documentary and working with a talented director and videographer, Karyl-Lyn Sanderson. She hasmanaged to assemble an amazing team of people who are helping to tell the stories of many Black midwives. They have interviewed eight midwives so far and three client families; this is just the beginning.
Legacy Power Voice: Movements in Black Midwiferyintimately explores the evolution of Black birthing traditions in America by giving voice to the Black community’s traditional caretakers. The film focuses on Georgia and Florida, as states where Black midwives have flourished even while enduring intense legal battles with the state and medical community and repression by their white peers. By highlighting these powerhouse midwives’ voices and stories, viewers witness the racial, political, and cultural contexts that have shaped midwifery movements in the South.
There are so many untold stories about midwifery in African American communities. Foremothers like Lucrecia Perryman, Biddy Mason, and Gladys Milton served as both conduits for the transmission of cultural practice and innovation in the interest of survival. The practice of Sankofa—reclaiming our story and carrying our ancestors forward with us—is a collective responsibility. In doing this vital work, Legacy, Power, Voice is grassroots labor of love.