Hundreds march to Meriter, St. Mary’s protesting racial disparities in healthcare

Protestors shared their traumatic birthing experiences, addressed hospital presidents

· Jun 7, 2020 Tweet

Molly DeVore/The Badger Herald

The steps of Madison’s Capitol were full once again, one week after crowds first met there to protest the killing of George Floyd.

Saturday’s crowd gathered to protest the racial disparities within Dane County’s healthcare system, where black newborns have a 9.3 mortality rate while white newborns have a rate of 3.7 per 1,000 births. 

Wisconsin also has the highest mortality rate for infants of non-Hispanic black women. 

Black Lives Matter protests continue peacefully Saturday night at CapitolBlack Lives Matter protests continued Saturday night with a youth-led protest at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Since Friday, the group Read…

The protest, organized by Harambee Village: Pregnancy, Birth, and Breastfeeding Care, began with a speech from Nada Elmikashfi, a candidate for Wisconsin State Senate, District 26. 

Elmikashfi said current elected officials are not adequately serving their Black constituents. 

“Members of the Madison City Council vote in favor of wood and glass instead of our black bodies,” Elmikashfi said. “I want to be a black mother, a black mother who doesn’t have to bury her children before they bury her.”

The crowd then began their march to Meriter Hospital, where black women shared their experiences being mistreated and ignored by hospital staff, and the trauma that inflicted on their pregnancies. 

The protest carried on to St. Mary’s Hospital where Nikita Seanior, a 28-year-old carrying twins who previously suffered seven miscarriages, described how she was treated there. 

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“My experience at SSM was horrible,” Seanior said. “I lost one of my twins, so now I’m carrying both of my babies in utero but I have to give birth to both of them September 15 of this year, but I only get to go home with one. My last visit here I was in the emergency room and I waited in the emergency room for an hour and a half, and I’m just sitting there crying, screaming and hollering… I’m trying to keep my composure but at the same time no one’s listening to me.”

Ebony Anderson-Carter, a Certified Nursing Assistant who has been at the Capitol supporting the youth protesters every night, offering medical attention and visiting the jails early in the morning to bail people out, spoke about the need for more support at these protests. 

“Instead of complaining about what these kids don’t have, bring it,” Anderson-Carter said. “We need COVID-19 testing. I got a whole hotspot of teenagers, there’s no reason why nobody’s out here calling me, asking me, ‘hey Ebony we’ve seen you got a hot spot, instead of us up there wasting time at the Alliant Energy Center, can we bring people down here?’”

Organizers spoke to St. Mary’s new president Kyle Nondorf, telling him policies need to change and the hospital needs to employ more black people. 

Nondorf said he was committed to meeting with community members to mitigate these racial disparities. 

Before the crowd dispersed, organizers told Nondorf this conversation of racial disparities within healthcare has to continue after today.



This article was published Jun 7, 2020 at 3:00 pm and last updated Jun 8, 2020 at 6:07 pm


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