Why I Am Becoming a Birth Justice Doula
Tifanny Burks

My love for children developed at an early age. I started a babysitting business with my sister at the tender age of 15 years old. Although we had a diverse clientele my sister and I were the most passionate about helping black mamas, single mamas and new mamas. I loved children so much I wrote an entire business plan for my future daycare called It Takes A Village Learning Center in 2010 when I was in an entrepreneurial club at my high school called DECA. When attending a regional DECA meeting in Orlando that same year, my learning center placed 3rd in the entrepreneurship business plan competition.

Fast forward, in the midst of my never-ending tale of adulting trial and error somehow my vision is coming back full circle. Black women have given me the language to articulate the oppression I have been facing my whole life. So my ancestors were waiting on me to understand that maybe that learning center is actually a worker co-operative for black and brown women who look like me. Once capitalism slapped me and my finances in the face after college, it was truly essential for me to be apart of something outside of the institutions that seems to only keep the 1% of the population wealthy while the rest of the 99% of us suffers under high black women infant mortality rates, mounting college debt, unlivable wages, unaffordable rent, police brutality and poor healthcare.

So becoming a birth worker and doula has been actively been my dream for the past year and this month it will finally become my reality. A doula is a non-medical professional trained to give physical and emotional support to a birthing person in a non-judgemental way. Choosing to wait to become a doula with the Southern Birth Justice Network has been a real intentional decision for me because this group values holistic birth care that is accessible to all people but especially black, brown, indigenous, youth, immigrant, LGBTQIA+, low-income and all other marginalized communities which is where my heart is at. I need a training that fundamentally understands all the trauma and oppression that affects the way marginalized communities bring babies into this world and the South Birth Justice Network gets it.

So I am inviting others to take this journey with me. You can learn more about the Birth Justice Doula Training here and you can also make this training more accessible by donating to help provide scholarships to as many participants as possible by clicking here.

Tifanny Burks is a queer black feminist, abolitionist, healer and trained restorative justice circle keeper. Restorative Justice is a community, non-punitive approach, to handling conflict, trauma and harm. She is also the co-creator of Aya Healing Village which is a horizontal organization that is committed to healing & gender justice. When not actively fighting for liberation, Tifanny enjoys reading, writing and traveling.