On a day that tested the conscience of America, California State Senator Hurtado took action that not only stifles collaborative effort to secure health equity for Black mamas and their families but effectively disregards the lives of birthing people from marginalized communities throughout California, including those within her very own district. Just as the verdict on the murder of George Floyd was delivered, Senator Hurtado unilaterally pulled a bill that seeks to preserve the lives of Black birthing people and their families. She took this action at the very last minute, as witnesses and supporters of the bill waited on the phone lines for the opportunity to voice their support. The implications of Hurtado’s action for the health of Black women and birthing people cannot be overstated, and certainly will not be ignored.
As written, SB 65 would implement comprehensive, meaningful strategies that address the root causes of the racial disparities in California’s maternal and infant mortality rates. Black Women for Wellness Action Project helped draft and is a co-sponsor of this important piece of legislation, which addresses decades-long issues of Black maternal and infant death, and severe injury due to long-standing socio-economic and institutional racism within California’s healthcare systems. One of Black Women for Wellness, our sister organization, first projects was addressing newborn/infant death. It came from the hundreds of Black women that experienced a child loss, something that is still prevalent today. We are disappointed and enraged that once again, the lives of Black women are used as mere pawns in a single person’s quest for and demonstration of power. Furthermore, this move underscores the disconcerting fact that in California, a state that positions itself as progressive and forward-thinking, , Black lives only matter when instrumental to the political gain of its elected officials.
To say that we are outraged is an understatement. This is personal to us, it feels like a personal attack on us. We are saddened, angered, hurt but resolved in our fight to secure health equity for Black families.
SAMPLE CALL SCRIPT
Senator Melissa Hurtado’s office:
Capitol Office: (916) 651-4014
Fresno District Office: (559) 264-3070
Bakersfield District Office: (661) 395-2620
Hanford District Office: (559) 585-7161
Hi this message is for Sen. Hurtado
My name is [ NAME ] and I’m calling from [ YOUR CITY ].
Senator Hurtado has put politics over the lives of Black and Indigenous pregnant people for her own political gain, abusing her power and leaving both underserved and low-income individuals worse off. Our State deserves better than that. She should no longer be rewarded for turning her back on people of color, low-income people, and babies in California. I would like to see a special hearing for the SB 65 California Momnibus bill before the April 28 deadline and I think she should step down (or be removed) from being the Chair of Senate Human Services.
SAMPLE SOCIAL MEDIA POST
#SB65 re-imagines maternal care for California. Unfortunately, @senmelissahurtado decided to play politics with birthing peoples’ lives by refusing to hear The California Momnibus Act. We ask that @SenatorToniAtkins set a special hearing for SB 65.
#SB65 is a comprehensive bill that provides vital resources and accountability to low-income and pregnant people of color. It was killed by @senmelissahurtado for her own political gain. Her political move impacts millions of Californians across the State. We ask that @SenatorToniAtkins set a special hearing for SB 65 and remove Sen Hurtado as Chair of Human Services.
#SB65 Momnibus is critical legislation that is vital to reducing negative birthing outcomes for BIPOC communities. @Senator_Hurtado abused the power of her committee and killed a bill that impacts millions of Californians. We ask that @SenToniAtkins set a special hearing for SB 65.
@Senator_Hurtado put politics over the lives of Black and Indigenous pregnant people. Our State deserves better. We demand that she be removed as Chair of Human Services. No more lives of low-income people should be put in jeopardy because of her politics.@SenToniAtkins
Black Women for Wellness Action Project