Jamaa Birth Village means family in the African language of Swahili. Come and go with me, on the humble beginnings and birthing of a village.
On Tuesday October 26th, 2022, the Saint Louis County Council awarded Midwife Okunsola, naming every October 26th as Midwife Tru (Okunsola) day and every month of October-Community Midwife Month, due to the honorary and extraordinary work of Jamaa Birth Village in the community.
“Jamaa Birth Village is a 501c3 non-profit Maternal Health organization located in Ferguson, Missouri and serves the greater St. Louis metro area.
It was founded October 26, 2015 by Brittany “Tru” Kellman, the first black woman to become a “certified professional midwife” in Missouri and is the executive director.
Jamaa, pronounced Jah-mah, means family in Swahili. The main focus of Jamaa Birth Village is to enhance individual care, empower families by celebrating cultural heritage in a community care setting and combat racial & health inequities.
The objective of Jamaa Birth Village is to address the heartbreaking statistics of African American women who are 3 times more likely to die of causes related to pregnancy and of African American babies that are 2 times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies.
Their mission is to provide affordable access to midwives and doulas of color along with childbirth and parenting education in the St. Louis region to lower prematurity, maternal-infant morbidity and mortality through a network of health professionals and peers.
Be it resolved by the STLCO Council that:
In recognition of the extraordinary work that Jamaa Birth Village does in the community by serving over 800 plus families since 2015 and in celebration of their 6th anniversary on October 26th;
Every October 26th be referred to as Midwife Tru Day and
Each October be designated Community Midwife Month and that we also remember to pause and reflect on World Doula Day every March 22nd to embrace the “women who serve” that are called to fill this very special and important role in communities not only here in St. Louis County but around the world.” – Saint Louis County Council