In San Francisco, we say that we are a city that values opportunity, inclusion and community, and we have a responsibility to make those values real.
That means making sure all our mothers and families can be healthy, are enjoying stable housing, quality education and economic security, and can live in neighborhoods where we belong. It means connecting mothers and families to doctors and hospitals that respect our concerns and experiences. It also means confronting racism wherever we encounter it—whether in our education or health systems or in our communities—and doing everything in our power to stop it.
San Francisco can only prosper when all of our children have a fair chance to be born healthy and can reach their full potential, and when every one of us can live in communities full of opportunity. When we work together to ensure that our children, mothers and families can thrive, we create a better city for all of us.
In San Francisco today, far too many Black and Pacific Islander women and are shut out of the resources and opportunities they need—such as housing, respectful and quality healthcare, nourishing food, good jobs and livable wages—to have healthy pregnancies or births.
The consequences are devastating for all of us. Today in San Francisco, one in seven African American babies is born premature, a rate that is worse than many developing countries. With a preterm birth rate of 14 percent, Black women in San Francisco are nearly three times more likely to experience preterm birth than white women. The preterm birth rate for Pacific Islander women in San Francisco is 11 percent, nearly 3 points higher than the national preterm birth rate for Asians and Pacific Islanders.
Race is not a factor for these disparities; racism is. Research increasingly shows that systemic and everyday racism negatively affects the health of mothers and birth outcomes. If we don’t act now to address these disparities so that all of our kids can have an equitable start, and mothers have what they need to be healthy, we will never become the city we aspire to be.
Expecting Justice is a Black-led collaborative, mobilizing leaders from across San Francisco to take action for healthy Black and Pacific Islander births. We are aligning our knowledge, resources, and efforts to name and repair the impact of racism on the health of mothers, families, and children in our city.
Expecting Justice was formed nearly two years ago to address these inequities. Expecting Justice is a Black-led, cross-sector initiative consisting of city agencies, community-based organizations, health providers, and community members. In partnership with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi-CA), Expecting Justice is taking an innovative, multi-component approach, using racial equity as a framework, to address key dimensions of vulnerability faced by Black and PI women during pregnancy and childbirth.