March for Moms

2018 Advocacy Day and Rally

Unifying Diverse Voices To Action

The March for Moms is more than just an event – it’s a movement! Join us as we kick off this historic week of advocacy. Our aim is to motivate society to make a difference in the lives of mothers, babies, and birthing families. We are declaring May 6th leading up to Mother’s Day, May 13th as the first ever National Maternal Health Awareness Week.

It’s not just about joining together to speak about devastating maternal health outcomes across the United States, but also about how to take action to ensure we improve our health care system and services. This is why, for the second year, we have created a large, staged national event in D.C., and added sister rallies across the nation. Our goal is to inspire and mobilize individuals to advocate for important legislation that will improve the health and well-being of American families.

Your participation is crucial to the success of these events. See the details below for more information.

D.C. 3-day Event Details

The March for Moms in Washington, D.C. is a 3 day event beginning on Sunday, May 6, 2018 to kick off Maternal Health Awareness Week. The event will take place on the middle of the D.C. Mall with a professionally staged setting. We will not be marching to any designated location.

Sunday, May 6th, 1pm-4pm:

The event kicks off with our big rally on the National Mall from 1pm – 4pm between 7th and 9th streets. Wear your favorite orange shirt, buy a March for Moms T-shirt, and bring your signs, chairs and blankets for an afternoon of fun, education and public demonstration.

This day includes:

  • Dynamic Speakers
  • Musical Entertainment
  • Educational Exhibits
  • Children’s Activities
  • On-site Blood drive (sign up below with Inova and Heroes for Moms)

Full list of speakers in order of appearance

Neel Shah
Ginger Breedlove
LaQuandra Nesbitt
Charles Allen
Pooja Mehta
Emma Sandoe
Jesanna Cooper
Christy Turlington Burns
Charles Johnson & Judge Glenda Hatchett
Adriana Gallardo
Wanda Irving
Elizabeth Dawes Gay
Lisa Hollier
Mary D’Alton
Mary McCausland
Eleni Tsigas
Kristen Terlizzi
Aaron Caughey
Brittany Marshall
Gene Declercq
Timoria Saba
Rebecca Fox Starr
Emily Drake
Angelina Spicer
Bryanna Cotter

Performances throughout the day by the following musicians

Letitia Van Sant
Winona Wilde
Nina Marie Fernando

Speaker Highlights

Photo credit: Melanie Dunea

Timoria is a maternal health advocate, speaker, and writer with a focus on mental and physical trauma due to childbirth and pregnancy. Immediately following the birth of her oldest daughter in April 2010, she suffered a post-partum hemorrhage and almost died. She underwent a life-saving surgery and was later diagnosed with PTSD. Timoria is a dynamic speaker that shouldn’t be missed. Join us in D.C. to hear her story and how her work helps families every day.

Marie McCausland will share her story of survival of a near-death experience with post-partum preeclampsia at this year’s March for Moms event in D.C.. She will share how her perseverance has led to her healthcare systems use of the AWHONN POST-BIRTH Education Program, ER staff to be retrained on post-partum hypertension, and obstetricians being part of the consult on all pregnant and post-partum cases up to 6 weeks.

Eleni Z. Tsigas is the CEO of the Preeclampsia Foundation and a two-time preeclampsia survivor. Eleni is a relentless champion for the improvement of patient and provider education and healthcare practices. She was a member of the Hypertension in Pregnancy Task Force created by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to develop national guidelines introduced in 2013, as well as similar task forces for California and Florida to develop preeclampsia toolkits. Join us in D.C. on the National Mall on May 6th to hear her story.

We are honored to have Charles Johnson share his family’s story of tremendous loss, after the sudden passing of his wife Kira in 2016 due to complications following a routine scheduled C-section. He’s now on a mission to see that this doesn’t happen to other families. Join him on May 6th on the National Mall.

Shalon Irving had many advantages, a B.A. in sociology, two master’s degrees and dual-subject Ph.D., the best insurance and rock-solid support system. It had not been enough to ensure Wanda Irving daughters survival. If a village this powerful hadn’t been able to protect her, is any black woman safe? Wanda shares her daughters story and their families loss on May 6th in D.C.. Its easy to forget that these inexcusable numbers are attached to people’s lives. We must hear and feel the stories to drive greater investment in maternity care. Don’t miss this historic event.

Adriana is an engagement reporter at ProPublica, where last year, she led engagement and reported for the Lost Mothers series which illuminated a national disgrace: the U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and up to 60 percent of those deaths are preventable. This series was the 2018 winner of the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting and received the George Polk Award. Join us in D.C. at the National Mall on May 6th to hear her story.

Rebecca Fox Starr, author of “Beyond the Baby Blues: Anxiety and Depression During and After Pregnancy” is a writer, blogger, podcaster, and mental health advocate with an unyielding desire to help other mental health sufferers. After experiencing severe perinatal distress while pregnant with and after the birth of her second child in 2013, Rebecca opened up on her blog, in real time, about her struggles, and her story spread across the world. Among her greatest accomplishments, Rebecca has used the success of her blog, Mommy, Ever After, to create a private, online forum for women, in which they are able to open up about psychological and social issues that they would otherwise be too afraid to address.

In 2014 Kristen spent two months postpartum in the hospital due to complications of placenta accreta. Her experience drove her to become a maternal health and patient safety advocate and to co-founder of the National Accreta Foundation. She’ll share her story in D.C. on May 6th to bring attention to the downstream costs of cesarean overuse.

“I have been a labor and delivery nurse for long time – over 20 years. I’ve seen lots of things, but I’ll never forget my first patient who died. We were not expecting it. She was young and vibrant and African American. She spent many weeks with us in the hospital in preterm labor, and we got her to her due date and she delivered a healthy baby boy and we were all happy. But only days later, she died suddenly – with undiagnosed cardiomyopathy. Nurses have too many stories like this. We’re on the front lines. We see it all. Just ask us to tell you what we know.” Dr. Drake is the immediate past-president of AWHONN, the national Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses and she will represent the 350,000 nurses that work in this specialty as she speaks on the National Mall in D.C. on May 6th. Join us!

Councilmember Charles Allen introduced and shepherded the Maternal Mortality Review Committee Establishment Act of 2018 through the District of Columbia Council to pass unanimously earlier this year. The bill, soon to be law, adds the District of Columbia to the growing number of jurisdictions around the country studying maternal mortality specifically to understand the underlying causes. The Committee, which includes medical professionals, government agency representatives and residents affected by maternal mortality, will review all pregnancy-associated deaths before, during, or in the year after childbirth to understand the cause and gather data that can be applied toward policies that make real improvements in maternal health.

Brianna Cayo Cotter is passionate about the need and benefit of good family leave policies. She is the Chief of Staff at PL+US: Paid Leave for the US a non-profit founded in 2016 with a single mission: win high quality paid family leave for everyone in the US. Our three-pronged strategy transforms workplaces, public policy, and culture so everyone can give and receive family care when it matters most.

Aaron B. Caughey is Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Associate Dean for Women’s Health Research and Policy at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR. He founded and Chairs the CDC-funded Oregon Perinatal Collaborative to improve outcomes for women and babies through deliberate guidelines and policies working with all of the health systems in Oregon. Nationally, he was recently appointed to the United States Preventive Services Task Force and serves as Vice-Chair on the ACOG Committee on Obstetric Practice Bulletins. He will take the stage on May 6th at the March for Moms event in D.C.. Don’t miss out!

“I march because I made it over the postpartum hump! When my daughter was born, like many moms I was afraid to share my truth – that I hated every second of those cries. I hated being in a constant state of hyper-vigilance, barely making it on no sleep or food. I march to encourage moms who are where I was – fighting for their sanity. It *does* get better, you are a great mom, YOU GOT THIS!”  #StopTheShame #PostpartumDepressionSurvivor #AngelinaSpicer

Angelina Spicer is a LA based comedian and content creator. Much of the work she has done since having a baby has included humorously capturing her transition into motherhood and struggles with postpartum depression. She will be hitting the main stage to share her story May 6th in D.C.. Don’t miss out!

“I hope to, one day, work in a maternity system that makes me proud.  Alabama has some of the worst maternal and infant outcomes in the country.  We have severe racial health disparities and an access to care crisis in both our rural and urban areas.  But, we also have individuals working hard to improve the care and support we give to mothers and infants.  We have successes to build on.  I want to talk about what works!  I want to change Alabama’s maternity care system into one that makes all Alabamians proud!”

Dr. Cooper is an OBGYN and CLC practicing in Birmingham, Alabama.  She spearheaded cultural changes in her Labor and Delivery Unit resulting in lower cesarean section rates, higher VBAC success rates, higher breastfeeding rates, and fewer NICU admissions.  She campaigned to change her hospital bylaws so that she could bring midwifery care to the city and now employs three CNMs.  Her practice initiated Alabama’s only active centering pregnancy care model.  She is passionate about improving the health of mothers and babies in Alabama and hopes to play a part in increasing access to care and improving outcomes across the state.  Dr. Cooper serves on the board of the Alabama Prison Birth Project and Birthwell Partners Volunteer Doula group.

“I’m marching because the Medicaid program which pays for nearly half of all births in America is too often misunderstood. My goal is to ensure every new mom has access to medical care and the Medicaid program is the way that we ensure mom’s can see and pay for their maternal care”. Emma joins us on the national mall on May 6th. Please join us.

Emma is a fourth year PhD student in the Health Policy, Political Analysis program at Harvard University. Prior to starting school she was the spokesperson for Medicaid and for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Department of Health and Human Services. She also worked in the HHS Secretary’s Budget Office on Affordable Care Act issues, for the Center for American Progress, and the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.

Christy Turlington Burns, Founder and CEO of Every Mother Counts, became a passionate advocate for maternal health following the birth of her daughter and her own postpartum complication. She has brought to life stories about maternal health from around the world through more than 20 films, beginning with No Woman, No Cry, in 2010, which told the stories of women in their final stages of pregnancy and through delivery in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala, and the United States. Every Mother Counts launched the Giving Birth in America Series five years later to examine the challenges and solutions contributing to America’s current maternal health crisis. This ongoing EMC series highlights some of the issues women are facing across the country with a lens on Florida, Louisiana, Montana and New York. Every Mother Counts engages communities, thought leaders, and partners in efforts to achieve quality, respectful, and equitable maternity care for all. Hear about how Christy has channeled her own experience into action to help make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every woman, everywhere.

As a woman physician leader, I committed in 2013 that I would spend the rest of my academic life devoted to ensuring that the “M” is put back into Maternal-Fetal Medicine and that we do everything we can to ensure no woman experiences a preventable maternal death.

Mary D’Alton, MD, is Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Specializing in maternal-fetal medicine, Dr. D’Alton’s practice focuses on patients with high-risk pregnancies due to complex maternal or fetal conditions. She serves as co-chair of ACOG District II’s Safe Motherhood Initiative, which works to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in New York State. At NYP/Columbia, she has led the development of its Mothers Center, which provides multidisciplinary care to pregnant women with surgical and medical complications, including heart disease, neurologic disease, placental disorders, a history of cancer, and chronic conditions requiring expert management.

Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt is a board-certified family physician and the Director of the District of Columbia Department of Health in Washington, D.C.. She joins us at March For Moms to discuss future efforts to improve maternal mortality in the D.C. area.

Elizabeth Dawes Gay, MPH is the founder of Sisu Consulting, where she works with organizations and individuals to advance social, racial, and reproductive justice for women of color. Her life’s mission is to create a world where women of color have what they need to achieve their ideal health and well-being.  Elizabeth is a recognized thought leader on women of color, reproductive and maternal health, and social justice who has been published in The Nation, Rewire, The, and other outlets.  She serves as Steering Committee Chair of the Black Mamas Matter AllianceElizabeth holds a Master of Public Health in Health Policy from George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa M. Hollier, M.D., of Houston, Texas is the president of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), based in Washington, D.C. Hollier is a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She serves as the Chief Medical Officer for Obstetrics & Gynecology for Texas Children’s Health Plan and is the medical director of Obstetrics and Gynecology for The Centers for Children and Women. Throughout her career, she has been dedicated to caring for the underserved and improving women’s health by advancing women’s health policy.

*There are multiple ways to be a Hero for Moms! And, multiple ways to save lives in the D.C. community by making a blood donation during the March for Moms Rally. Every 10 minutes a woman in the United States almost dies of pregnancy-related complications. Postpartum hemorrhage is a leading cause of these complications, with an estimated 2.9% of the women who give birth in the U.S. will bleed too much. This means about 125,000 women a year are affected. In addition, in the last 10 years, there was a 183% increase in the number of women who had a blood transfusion around the time they gave birth.*

The blood drive sign-up for appointments is live, sign up today!

Monday, May 7th:

“Advocacy Prep Day” hosted by our signature partner 2020Moms.

This day includes:

  • Storytelling workshop on how to lobby your congressional representatives
  • Delegation Training Session
  • Documentary Screening for Congressional Staffers and Attendees “Dark Side of the Full Moon” about Maternal Mental Health
  • Awards and Networking Reception

*Participants must register for this event. To register and get more information click here.

Tuesday, May 8th:

Tuesday is Advocacy Day! This day includes:

  • Legislative Hill Visits – Those who register in advance will have appointments set for them by our legislative team
  • Group Photo on the Capitol Steps

For those unable to attend, you will be able to help by following our webpage and Facebook sites to use a Voter Voice pre-messaged url link for your congressional Representatives to hear from you while many are on the Hill. This link will be made available as we near the Rally week. Additionally, you can sign up for our newsletter that will distribute the Voter Voice link when open.

March for Moms 2018 Leading Partner

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Yellow Chair Foundation

March for Moms 2018 Partners

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March for Moms 2018 Community

Past Partners

Interested in our past supporters? Check out our 2017 Partners Page!