Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Speaking up for Breastfeeding Support

Recently, I had the opportunity to exercise my lactivist "title" by giving public testimony at a Sacramento County Board of Supervisors meeting.  As part of my clinical internship, I attended the meeting with my mentor lactation consultant on April 4, 2011.  With very short notice, I scratched out a 2 minute speech (the normal allotted time of 3 minutes was cut to 2 because there were so many people who wanted to speak.)

I was one of numerous individuals (the most of any agenda item) who got up to give testimony in support of Sacramento County WIC's breastfeeding support programs funded by First 5.  We were all there to urge the Board to re-prioritize the breastfeeding programs as "high priority" and reconsider the proposed 50% cuts to the much needed and utilized programs serving the county's most at-risk children.

Energized and a bit nervous, I walked up to the podium and shared my observations and opinion.  It was a daunting moment, standing in front of the microphone speaking to the Board with a room full of people listening.  It had been over 10 years, while as a student at UC San Diego, since I had spoken publicly in support of a cause I cared deeply about.  In college, I was the Executive Director of the student volunteer center and sole speaker asking the associated student government to re-consider proposed cuts.  This time I was a mom and intern urging funds for breastfeeding support to be continued.  My testimony at UCSD worked and we received the funding.  I can only hope this time around my decision to speak up for breastfeeding along with the voice of many others may have a positive impact as well.

You can watch all the testimony (including Laurie True from CWA at 2:35:30 and mine at 2:38:05) here:  http://www.first5sacramento.net/First5SacramentoCommissionMeetings/default.htm  and click on "View Video" for FIRST 5 - 4/4/2011

Lastly, I urge you as a member of our great democracy to use your voice to speak up for the causes you care about.  Breastfeeding is truly a public health issue which affects us all.  And as a community of lactivists, with our voices joined together we can help to ensure better health for all moms and babies.

What can YOU Do?  
Keep up with the latest breastfeeding-related legislation and happenings in your community:

1) Become a member of your local Breastfeeding Coalition.  Find yours here: http://www.californiabreastfeeding.org/members.html

2) Sign up for the California WIC Association FLASH e-newsletter here: http://www.calwic.org/

3) Sign up for the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee Action Alerts here:  http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5162/signUp.jsp?key=394

If you have other "lactivist" suggestions, please share with a comment on my blog.  And...

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
-Margaret Mead