About Granny’s Birth Initiative
We hold the belief that maternal support is a fundamental right for all individuals who give birth. Those who are incarcerated, orphaned, displaced, or have a darker complexion should not face neglect or prejudice in their pursuit of this essential support.
We named our organization in honor of our Grand/Granny midwives who paved the way for birth communities & professionals today.
Our Granny Midwives acted as both community healers and baby catchers to the communities not accepted by society. They were the lifeline for black and rural communities. As their profession was colonized, their names were washed from history. Granny’s Birth Initiative is named after those that cared for all. We will carry on the legacy while ensuring black and brown birthing people have a safe space as we fight the Black Infant & Maternal Health Crisis and the challenges of transitioning through the penal, child welfare, and transitional housing systems.
Granny’s Birth Initiative seeks to support disenfranchised birthing families often overlooked due to societal shame or lack of acceptance. It is the birthing people that are BIPOC, incarcerated or homeless girls/women, those in foster care or transitioning out that are often forgotten about or served with judgment.
A society that develops resources to promote maternal & infant health equity by reducing barriers and improving access to maternal support, childbirth education, doulas, and lactation, even in cases where the mother-baby pair has been separated.
Our goal is to create access to Doula and lactation support, birth education, legal support, and other resources that are the key tools in our fight to decrease maternal and infant mortality in Black and other marginalized communities.
Our First Steps
No one should have to birth alone, even behind bars or shackled. Dignity Bill 1, passed in 2018 deemed shackling during labor yet so many express this is their experience. One, many are not educated on their new right, and the staffing of this system remains ignorant of the law. We want to provide doulas not only to advocate but to educate both the prison population and staffing.
- Started Granny’s Birth Initiative
- Began Maternity Donation Drive at Logan Street Market
- Registered as an official nonprofit
- Helped pass the Dignity Bill Pt 2
- Started the Annual Black Maternal Health Fair
- Released Doula Dash
- Opened our Maternity Pantry to the Public
March of Dimes has sponsored $2,000 for a Black Student Midwife for the Annual Black Maternal Health Fair.
Anthem was the official sponsor of the Annual Black Maternal Health Fair 2021, donating $6,000.
Metro United Way granted GBI the innovative grant of $250,000 over two years for Doula Dash. The Maternal Transportation Initiative.
Humana granted Doula Dash $30,000 for 250 free rides for Humana Medicaid members, training of more drivers, and IT support.
Birth Future Fund granted GBI $5,000 toward operational funds of community services.
Meet the Team
Elite Perinatal Health Professionals Passionate about Birthing People
Doula Alexa Hughes
BS Interdisciplinary Studies
Founder & Executive Director
BS, Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Assistant Executive Director
Doula Arielle Eugene
Certified Holistic Nutritionist
Director of Maternal and Infant Health Nutrition
Doula Tia Hardy
BS, Health Promotion & Education
Director of Doulas
Maternal Support Practitioner Certification, Bebo
Fertility and Postpartum Support Practitioner, Bebo
Doula Mary Miller
Director of Maternal Mental Health
Doula Kinshasta (Kinny) Reed, RN
Director of Public Education & Volunteer Chair
Shellese Shemwell, MPH, MS
Director of Monitoring and Evaluation
Director of Strategic Planning
Lauren Buchwald, RN
Birth Kentucky Better
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