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WHEREAS, the health and well-being of all Virginians is important to the prosperity and livelihood of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, maternal healthcare is a right and all mothers should receive the proper care; and
WHEREAS, the month of April is recognized in the United States as National Minority Health Month – a month-long initiative to advance health equity across the country on behalf of all racial and ethnic minorities; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia is joining dozens of global organizations who are fighting to end maternal mortality; and
WHEREAS, this week is recognized as Black Maternal Health Week, founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance; and
WHEREAS, this week of awareness, activism, and community building is intended to deepen the national conversation about Black maternal health in the United States, amplify community-driven policy, research, and care solutions, elevate the voices of black mothers, women, families, and stakeholders, provide a national platform for efforts to address maternal health, birth, and reproductive justice, and enhance community organizing on Black maternal health; and
WHEREAS, Black Maternal Health Week will offer champions and community advocates of maternal healthcare an opportunity to address the disproportionate high rates of maternal mortality experienced by Black women here in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the maternal mortality rate for Black women in Virginia is more than two times as high than that of white women; and
WHEREAS, last year, I announced a goal to eliminate the racial disparity in the maternal mortality rate in Virginia by 2025; and
WHEREAS, by equipping mothers, families, health care providers, and community members with resources and information, the Commonwealth of Virginia can advance the health and well-being of Black women and families throughout the state;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize April 11-17, 2020, as BLACK MATERNAL HEALTH WEEK in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.