Dear Doula Canada and Bebo Mia,
We, the Doula Support Foundation, are writing today to encourage you to continue on your journey of taking anti-racist action and aligning your organizational values in concrete solidarity with Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour. For those of us who are white women in our organization, we acknowledge that the process of unlearning the racism that we have all grown up in, been steeped in simply by living in North America, is a long and bumpy one. We also know that BIPOC and other marginalized individuals have extremely valid reasons to be enraged and exhausted after yet another series of betrayals of trust and hope they perhaps had that, maybe in this community, things would be different.
From where we stand, and from following the various social media discussions and attending the Doula Canada town hall on February 24th, it appears that there are some key actions that Doula Canada (and Bebo Mia) can take to concretely take accountability for the mistakes made that have not yet, to our knowledge, been taken. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope that these actions contribute to more clarity in what a genuinely committed path towards anti-racist work and solidarity across our brilliantly diverse doula community looks like.
1) Acknowledge the wrongdoing, and apologize directly to the individuals who have been harmed by your actions and had the courage to share with you your mistakes. We recognize that taking accountability, acknowledging one’s wrongs, particularly when one feels committed to being anti-racist and being a champion of social justice, can be extremely challenging. At the same time, we also know that a genuine apology, one that does not include a request for acceptance, is a critical, non-negotiable step. Apologies are about taking responsibility for one’s actions, not about expecting forgiveness—that is entirely up to the recipient of the apology and should have no bearing on one’s decision to apologize. Healing cannot begin without repair, and repair requires us to take down our defensive walls, listen, and have the courage to apologize. And let us be clear: this apology is not for the entire doula community, to those of us who are white and feel angry about what has transpired. The apology should be focused on those who need to, and deserve to, hear it most. king yaa shared excellent guidance on making a public apology when one has done harm that can be found on their Instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CLw-FObAuDf/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
2) Take concrete action: Change your pricing split from 60%/40% (60% to DTC/Bebo Mia) to 20%/80% (20% to Doula Canada/Bebo Mia) for courses and other services provided by folx from the BIPOC communities, effective immediately. One of the key ways that anti-racist organizations can begin to right the wrongs of generations of dispossession and inequality suffered by BIPOC folx is to implement policies based on reparation and redistribution, whereby those who have historically suffered from systemic racism and the financial and social fallout from such racism are paid more equitably. In recommending this action, we also note that it does not obligate king yaa or any others who have engaged with Bebo Mia and Doula Canada to accept this offer; rather this should be an action based on paving a path forward and accepting that there is still much trust to be rebuilt.
About the Doula Support Foundation
Doula Support Foundation offers high-quality, evidence-based, and non-judgemental Doula and childbirth education services for people and families living in the Kingston, Ontario area.
Our mission is to make sustainable doula services available to all those who want them, but could not otherwise afford them.
Our vision is to transform the way we envision birth and early parenting in our communities.