Centering Black Voices

Uplifting Black Women's Wisdom

We believe this work cannot be done for Black women without Black women. We center Black voices and experiences, ensuring that we [Black women] bring our lived experiences, wisdom, and community-defined solutions to the front and center of the discussion. 

Community Advisors Collective

To inform hospital quality improvement strategies and ensure that Black women are part of the decision-making process, Cherished Futures embeds Community Advisors as members of each hospital team. Our Community Advisors are respected, Black community leaders, researchers, philanthropists, and clinicians that are deeply rooted in our priority communities. Community Advisors as a collective, support individual hospital teams, provide strategic input into the Cherished Futures project design, and give voice to Black experiences—making the data real and embodied for those less proximate to these experiences. 

Community Advisors Collective Members

Mashariki Kudumu, MPH
Maternal and Child Health Director, Greater Los Angeles
March of Dimes
Serving 2020-2023
Adjoa Jones, MBA

AAIMM Outreach & Engagement Director 

 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health 

Serving 2020-2023

Diamond Lee, MSW, ACSW
Wenonah Valentine, MBA
Founder & Executive Director
iDREAM for Racial Health Equity
Serving 2020-2023
Brandi Desjolais, Ed.D

Co-Director, Black Maternal Health Center of Excellence

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Serving 2020-2023

Anju Kane, MPH
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Yolonda Rogers-Jones

Program Coordinator

Black Infant Health Program

Serving 2020-2023

Michele Rigsby Pauley, R.N., MSN, CPNP,

Former Program Director

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Serving 2020-2023

Director of Birth Equity and Community Collaboration, MAMAs Program

Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Serving 2022-2023

Executive Director

Soul Food for Your Baby

Serving 2022-2023

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Mercedez Johnson, CLES

Full Spectrum Doula

Serving 2022-2023

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Raena Granberry

Senior Manager of Maternal and Infant Health

California Black Women's Health Project

Serving 2022-2023

Cherished Futures Sister Circles 

In addition to our community advisors collective, we bring together Black women's sister circles in order to identify and elevate community-defined practices. In partnership with the California Black Women's Health Project and the Los Angeles County African American and Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative, we have convened over 70 Black women from across Los Angeles to give voice to our needs and recommendations for equitable care and systems change. 


"There has to be an acknowledgment of the unique harm done to Black women."
- Black Mother Sister Circle Participant, July 2020

July 2020 Sister Circle

In July 2020, an intimate group of Black women and birthing people, as well as birth workers across South LA, South Bay, and the Antelope Valley, came together for a Listening Sister Circle. This virtual Sister Circle met virtually and quickly began identifying pathways for action and growth. There is a critical lack of space and capacity to center Black birthing people within the Los Angeles health care landscape. 

Black women sister circle participants identified a series of key recommendations, which were later shared with the Cherished Futures hospital teams. 

Recommendations Ranked in Order by Black Women

1. Create space for real dialogue between community and hospital staff

2. Share and discuss data with the community

3. Create designated Black maternal health teams in the hospital

4. Demonstrate and acknowledge unique Black experiences

5. Create a pipeline program for Black birth workers

October 2021 Sister Circle Recap Video

On October 27th, 46 Black pregnant and parenting people, birth justice advocates, and perinatal professionals convened virtually in an intimate sister circle to discuss the ways hospital births can be improved for Black people in LA County.