KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The gift of being or becoming a mother isn’t one that Femeika Elliot, the founder of The Lotus Program Experience, and Alexis Alsup the owner of Empowered Doula Services and student midwife, take for granted. The two are coming together this Mother’s Day weekend to bring the first annual Black Maternal Health Symposium to Knoxville.

The title of the event is, “The State of Black Maternal Health: Restoring Birth Pathways and Traditions,” and will take place Saturday, May 13, from noon to 8:00 p.m. at Pellissippi State Community College on the Magnolia Avenue Campus. 

The symposium will feature local researchers, birth workers, holistic practitioners, business owners, advocates, and professionals who work within the realm of maternal health and wellness within East Tennessee.

“I really just want them to be able to take away, not just information and education, but also an experience, and know that we are here to support them and they’re not alone,” Alsup said.

Elliot agreed, “We just want women to feel comfortable, whether you plan on conceiving now, later or if you’re even recovering or have any fertility issues, we are well embedded into the Black maternal health space but also the holistic sector as well,” she said. “Feel free to reach out to us individually or collectively as well for resources.”

Some of their goals for the event include:

  • Bring awareness to the community and stakeholders on the status of black maternal health within Knoxville and outside of the city.
  • Provide educational and insightful information to the public and its stakeholders.
  • Provide access to local and regional resources including but not limited to: women’s health providers, alternative healing modalities, regenerative medicine, and womb care.
  • Establish funding to continue our work and advocacy for black women in the maternal health sector and reproductive rights realm.

The event is free and open to the public, but those wanting to attend must register. It will also be live-streamed on the symposium’s Instagram page and on Youtube, but registration is still required in order to receive a link for the live stream.