Kierra Jackson, RN, is a master’s student in advanced practice nursing at Yale University.
Posts By This Author
Blackness Is Not a Health Risk Factor in the U.S. Anti-Blackness Is.
PRESIDENT TRUMP “DISCOVERED” this spring that African Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. “Why is it three or four times more so for the black community as opposed to other people?” he asked during a live coronavirus task force briefing in April. Black social media erupted.
One friend wrote, “The white man said it, but we have been screaming this for years.” Another person posted, “Blackness is not a risk factor. Anti-blackness is the comorbidity.”
I began to seriously consider the impact of race on health while becoming a registered nurse. Combating health disparities in the black community eventually brought me to midwifery. As a health care provider, the language of “comorbidity” (two or more chronic health conditions) and “modifiable health risk” (a risk factor for illness that can be lowered by taking an action) has become part of my vocabulary.
Following Trump’s question at the press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responded, “When you look at the predisposing conditions that lead to a bad outcome with coronavirus ... they are just those very comorbidities that are unfortunately disproportionately prevalent in the African American population.” A few days later, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams noted that minorities are not more predisposed to infection “biologically or genetically,” but rather they are “socially predisposed” to it.
Labors of Love
IN HER LATEST BOOK, Birthing Hope: Giving Fear to the Light, Rachel Marie Stone spiritually illuminates a painstaking, sometimes isolating, and often highly medicalized event in the life of a woman. In uncovering her own journey giving birth, Stone invites us to question our understandings of pain and passage, deliverance and rebirth, illness and privilege, and theology’s long-complicated relationship to science. Stone uses her new memoir to inspire readers to comb through scripture and rediscover God as midwife.
Throughout the book, Stone includes passages from Isaiah, which “imagines God as birthing mother and midwife more than any other biblical book.” Stone notes, “Christians across the spectrum of cultural, theological, and political points of view seem equally to neglect biblical images of God as a laboring woman.” Chapter by chapter, Stone writes of labor and birth from a variety of vantage points that affirm the God closely linked to childbirth: Teenage Mary, struggling with morning sickness and at the end of her third trimester, pushing the Christ through her birth canal and into the world. A Malawian woman who must walk many miles home with her newborn strapped to her back mere hours after birthing. The Christian understanding of “being born again” as forgiveness, a fresh beginning, and as entering “into the womb of God to be born again.” Each perspective expands the reader’s understanding of rebirth through God.
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Finding God on the Running Course
I started running because of my sister. Kim and I began when we were pre-teens. I believed running was the key to making me more like her -- 5 foot 9, lean, beautiful, and highly intelligent. There was one problem: I hated running. After forcing myself to do it for a while, I was disappointed. My dreams of who I would become were dashed, and all I got from trotting around was a lower resting heart rate and bulky thighs.
Years later, much has changed -- including my relationship with running. Following her multiple-sclerosis diagnosis in 2009, Kim, who was once a long-distance runner, has retired her running shoes. She hasn't hit the pavement in more than one year. I still run. Something in my spirit won't let me quit.
Last weekend, I completed my fourth half marathon in Washington, D.C. As I toed the start line, a story began to unfold. At 7 a.m., it was barely 35 degrees outside and still dark. I was surrounded by a sea of 16,000 people -- all of whom were present for one thing: to put their bodies to the ultimate test. This morning was all about endurance.
Why I'm Becoming a Doula
Discovering the call to 'mother the mothers.'
'Gentrification Kills': Confronted by the Writing on the Wall
Happy Birthday Sojourner Truth!
On this day in 1797, Isabella Baumfree (Sojourner Truth) was born in Ulster County, New York. Sojourner Truth was a former slave, women's rights activist, abolitionist, and great orator. On November 26, 1883, Sojourner passed away in her home in Battle Creek, Michigan.