KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Black women are three-to-five times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women and Black babies have an infant mortality rate almost double than that of the U.S. average. This data and more are part of ongoing conversations in events hosted by the Knox County Health Department for Black Maternal Health Week.

The health department is hosting events this week, which kicked off Sunday, through April 21 in collaboration with the Africana Studies Department at the University of Tennessee, the Knox Birth Equity Alliance.

“We are proud and excited to be part of the inaugural celebration,” Adrien Jones, Public Health Educator with KCHD, said. “By giving a voice to members of the community to learn more about Black maternal health, we’re raising awareness and building a foundation to address the disparities that Black women and children face.”  

A taste and paint event, “Amplifying the Voices of Black Mamas and Babies” will be held Wednesday, April 13 at the Frieson Black Cultural Center. It will feature food from local Black-owned businesses and will include a celebratory candlelight vigil to honor Black mothers and babies whom have been lost.

The conversation continues on Thursday, April 21 at the University of Tennessee Student Union, discussing historical, cultural, and medical perspectives on Black maternal health from academics and professionals from UT and the KCHD. 

Those who are interested in participating in these events, please visit www.knoxcounty.org/health/birthequity to register.