We love highlighting the activities of our amazing USLCA chapters! This month, we’re excited to share information from the Pennsylvania Resource Organization for Lactation Consultants (PRO-LC).
Forming in March 1986, PRO-LC was one of the very first local affiliates of USLCA. Over the years, PRO-LC has seen the profession and its professional organization grow and change.
Part of PRO-LC’s recent growth has come from some uncomfortable experiences. A few people of color had experiences in their group that did not feel welcoming, and this prompted PRO-LC to look more closely at how their organization functions. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, which was a catalyst for many institutions and organizations in our country to examine their tenants, accelerated reevaluation of the ways in which they are functioning within the constructs of white supremacy.
In July, PRO-LC issued their BLM statement which was initially problematic and not well received by their membership. PRO-LC board members worked more in conversation with BIPOC to revise their statement. This is the statement as it exists today.
PROLC stands in support of all Black lives.
We pledge to further raise awareness of the systemic constructs
that have led to the field of lactation being a White dominated field.
Our organization will continue to educate our members and the communities we serve about generational trauma and health disparities so that we all share an understanding of the crisis of racism. In doing so, it is our mission to support the collaborative effort of dismantling systemic racism and implicit bias by challenging these frameworks in our communities, hospitals, and professional spaces. We endeavor to provide a safe space for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) to learn, engage, and be supported through their lactation journeys whether they be personal or professional. We will continue to work earnestly to identify racism within our organization and profession, and refuse to maintain the silence which holds bias in place.
We stand united against racism, oppression,
and practices that are not equitable.
BLACK LIVES MATTER.
This work propelled them to form a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee to take on issues raised in the conversations that took place while refining the BLM statement. The committee will be focused on reducing race and bias-based disparities in access to information, education, and credentialing in the Lactation field. One prominent goal will be to elevate members of non-dominant groups to leadership positions in part by taking the following steps.
1) Survey PRO LC’s members to find out who is represented and who is not, using this information to measure forward movement on goals of diversity, equity, & inclusion
2) Gather information on events and to focus on improving welcoming and retaining under-represented groups
3) Create community resources & develop a collaborative model to expand lactation support in their region
4) Outreach to organizations caring for birthing and breast/chestfeeding families
5) Coordination of events focused on community building
Over the past several years, PRO-LC has worked to diversify their speakers and topics. This past fall, PRO-LC hosted a few important online presentations including “Microaggressions and Implicit Bias”. They also held a two-part series. Part 1: “From Plantations to Present”, is available to view online, and part 2: “Lactation in the Black Community, Then and Now”, took place live in early December.