Stefanie Powers, Editor-in-Chief
“More than half of America’s babies are children of color. We must embrace the changing portrait of our nation’s babies and commit to end the racism that infects not only them, but us all…As an organization we are committed to ensuring every baby has the opportunity to be valued and loved; to be taught to care for and be compassionate to others, regardless of their backgrounds. As an organization we support the clinicians, educators, care providers…all the professionals, who are on the frontlines of care. They are also on the frontline for social and economic justice. And we must support them in that cause as well.” —Matthew Melmed, Executive Director, ZERO TO THREE
The mission of ZERO TO THREE—to ensure that all babies have a strong start in life—is deeply influenced by issues of equity and social justice. The articles in this issue of the Journal represent a small collection of the efforts, both within ZERO TO THREE and from our colleagues who are working on the frontlines of service, to address bias and advance equity at all levels and systems of care.
ZERO TO THREE’s State of Babies Yearbook: 2021 makes clear that racism creates inequities in maternal and child health, and these disparities are impacting babies even before they are born (see the Issue Brief at the State of Babies website). Structural or systemic racism leads to higher rates of poverty, lower education, lack of stable housing, and limited access to health care. Interpersonal racism, equally as destructive, leads to the biased interactions experienced by people of color based on their race or ethnicity. Both forms of racism are pervasive and result in an accumulation of stress that impacts the health and well-being of infants before birth through poor maternal nutrition and health, inadequate prenatal care, and pregnancy complications. Strikingly, Black women are at least 3 times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy, and the mortality rate of Black infants is over twice that of White/Non-Hispanic infants. The American Medical Association recognizes this Black maternal health crisis as an American tragedy.
The articles in this issue share some of the promising strategies underway to address these urgent concerns. For additional resources and opportunities to engage with us on these critical issues:
- Visit the ZERO TO THREE website for resources for parents, professionals, and policymakers that offer insight and guidance on racial justice and equity issues in early childhood: zerotothree.org/equity
- Join ZERO TO THREE’s virtual Annual Conference (October 25–29, 2021) which will include a number of plenaries, issue intensives, forums, and field presentations that will focus on issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion: https://annualconference.zerotothree.org
- Dialogue with other ZERO TO THREE members and share resources on the Member Connect discussion board: https://memberconnect.zerotothree.org Thank you for being a part of these important conversations.
Stefanie Powers, Editor-in-Chief [email protected]
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Powers, S. (2021). This issue and why it matters. ZERO TO THREE Journal, 42(1), 2.