As Black history month comes to a close, we continue to honor the innovation and dedication of Black leaders in the United States who are committed to ensuring the futures of our children are bright. This diverse group of individuals have utilized their expertise in maternal and child health, education, and business development to support improved maternal and child health outcomes, youth leadership, and education.
Maternal and Child Health
Founder of Moonstone Babies
Bailey Rollins is a certified doula—a pregnancy, birth, and postpartum support and education expert—based in New York City. Before she became a doula, Ms. Rollins was an elementary school teacher and specialized in early childhood development. She combined her passion for childbirth and education to support parents as they transition into parenthood with grace and confidence knowing they have the tools they need to care for the new little one.
Doulas, like Ms. Rollins, are combatting the nation’s maternal mortality crisis that disproportionately overburdens pregnant Black women and mothers. This CBS article by Nina Bahadur elucidates the crucial role that doulas can play in ensuring safe birth outcomes for mothers and babies.
Lisa Peyton-Caire, MS.Ed.
Founder, CEO & President of The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
Lisa Peyton-Caire is a passionate advocate for women’s health and wellness. She is the founder, CEO and president of the Madison, Wisconsin-based Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. The foundation is “committed to eliminating health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of Black women and girls.”
Following her mother’s untimely death at age 64 from heart disease, Ms. Peyton-Caire established Black Women’s Wellness Day, which has transformed into an annual summit designed to empower women and girls to invest in and sustain their personal health and wellness. Recently, Ms. Peyton-Caire was appointed to serve on Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ Health Policy Advisory Council where she has the opportunity to influence policies addressing maternal and child health disparities throughout Wisconsin. Learn more about Lisa Peyton-Caire’s contributions to Wisconsin’s public health scene.
Judith Batty Interim CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA
Judith Batty is a Girl Scout through and through. She grew up in the Girl Scouts world with her mother as her troop leader. Ms. Batty is a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts and currently serves as the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the USA. She is the first Black women to serve in the role. For Ms. Batty, the Girl Scouts helped her build her confidence as a young girl, appreciate diverse perspectives and learn the value of teamwork. As CEO, Ms. Batty will shape the future direction for the premier girl-led, girl-focused leadership experience that reaches 2.6 million members worldwide.
Ms. Batty is an attorney by training and has served on numerous governing boards. During her time with a Fortune 100 company, Batty also became the first women and person of color to fill the role of general counsel. To learn more about Judith Batty, visit Girls Scouts of the USA.
Founder of BlackGirlsCode
Kimberly Bryant isn’t the first to notice the lack of diversity within tech companies, but she sure is one of the few working to level the playing field. Kimberly Bryant’s BlackGirlsCode is a nonprofit organization investing in Black youth by providing education and access to skill-building in computer science and technology. BlackGirlsCode is training girls of color ages 7 to 17 in languages of the digital world with support from tech giants such as Google, Oracle, Salesforce, and Adobe. The organization’s goal is to train 1 million girls by 2040 to fill the growing number of computing jobs in the country. Bryant is building a new generation of coders and elevating their creativity through encouragement and education one girl at a time.
Founder of Share the Magic Foundation
Reading opens a whole new world for youth. Georgia football star, Malcolm Mitchell, discovered his love for football came second only to his love for reading! Mitchell was named UnderArmour All-American in high school, enjoyed a stellar football career at the University of Georgia, and then joined the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl in 2017. His athletic accomplishments are a marvel, but he claims his true accomplishment is discovering his love for reading. He initially struggled to read, but eventually books became a place of solace and adventure. Mitchell has since authored and published children’s books, founded Share the Magic Foundation, and launched Read with Malcolm, an inclusive youth literacy initiative to ensure kids have access to books at home. The foundation has distributed approximately 51,000 books to youth to date and continues to transform lives through curating educational resources and programming designed to foster kids’ learning potential.
Investing in child health is a cross-sectoral and collaborative endeavor. Children of all ages benefit from thoughtful and inclusive strategies employed by people of color and Black leaders such as those referenced here. Child health is enhanced when parents have the tools they need to establish a healthy home and relationships. Child health is also reflected in, and affected by, family and community health needs. It is imperative that child health needs transcend racial and gendered disparities, implicit biases, and structural barricades in health care and education. Thank you to all of the leaders and visionaries working to address the issues facing our youth and to those that have come before for us!