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Technology As A Tool For Liberation

Reaching the world in a click of a button is incredibly mind-blowing. Millions of thoughts, ideas, articles and various forms of media circulate from any place that has access to the internet. I became aware of the opportunity available in these facts as I use my voice to disseminate knowledge. As a midwife, writer and social justice advocate, I expand my network online and share my writings and thoughts about the current state of women of color in the United States. My experience has made me understand the power of technology in resisting oppression, educating the collective and creating solutions.

It is important to be intentional with the way I use technology. During my undergraduate career, I studied Television/Radio Productions and Black Studies; it was at this time that I began to understand the power of images on the human psyche. I understood how the magazines, books, movies, television, music and advertisement contributed to my self-hatred because of my skin color. The perpetuation of a white supremacist idea of beauty and desirability through the media works on the minds of its consumers regardless if we are aware of it or not. Using technology to counter the negative stereotypes and images we are bombarded with became important to me as I liberated myself from years of hating myself for not resembling what I was exposed to. I have used it to record lectures on the Afro-Latina identity and making the message of overcoming internalized oppression go viral. I keep social media pages such as Facebook to constantly share videos and articles affirming the greatness of being part of the African Diaspora.

Currently, my interest with using technology has grown to focus on the healthcare disparities in maternal health for African American and Latina women in the United States. I utilize my experience as a birth doula and now as a midwife to speak about the neglect women of color deal with in this country, highlighting the human rights being violated by the roadblocks to adequate health care - lack of equal access to annual exams, mammograms, family planning education, prenatal care, publicly funded care, STD testing and conscientious health workers. I write articles about my personal journey to freeing myself from feeling unworthy of attending to my reproductive. I use social media to share information about pregnancy, labor and childbirth to women like me from urban communities who cannot access the knowledge as easily as they can access the internet. I also created a multimedia project called These Waters Run Deep. Using reproductive and maternal health as a lens, These Waters Run Deep artfully weaves narratives that highlight the socio-political landscape by through which women have learned to endure for generations. It is an advocacy project raising awareness on the condition of women's holistic & maternal health, highlighting Afro-descendant women's experience. It is a sharing of stories and art to celebrate the joy of creation and shed light on the death consuming our communities, with the implication of imagining the possibility of transformation.

Furthermore, the images and messages we receive about childbirth evoke and induce more fear into woman. These messages and images work to make us fear our bodies and hand our inherent power over to medical professionals who see birth not as a natural process but as a pathological emergency. Using technology is of the utmost importance to reprogram ourselves and our peers out of the illusion that we are weak and unable to birth our children with minimal intervention. My goal is to combine all these concepts that I am passionate about to help change the reality and experiences of people of the African Diaspora in the United States.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

Comments

byamungu bahati pascal's picture

C'est vraiment impressionant

C'est vraiment impressionant ton article sur la technologie. C'est bon important de pouvoir aboutir à tout ce que tu te fait comme objectifs à réaliser. Tout début est difficile mais c'est seulement le courage qui te permettra à y arriver.

Pascal BYAMUNGU

HeidiSB's picture

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your story. I am inspired by your proactive-ness. It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the pervasiveness of these messages and feel there is nothing to do about it but try and retreat and ignore.

I gave birth a year ago, as well as 11 and 13 years ago. I wished I had seen more about the pre and postnatal care we receive change in that decade in between, each time it has seemed to me that the insurance companies dictate the system. Insurance, and yes, you are right, fear. I could write forever on this topic, but I will say that I agree with everything you said. In my last pregnancy someone pointed out that constant messaging of fear to me, and it really resonated. I was able to change my mindset and have a drastically different pregnancy, birth and recovery experience. We need more professionals like yourself spreading that message and offering support.

I look forward to exploring your web page - thesewatersrundeep. !!

LatiNegra's picture

Dear Heidi, Thank you some

Dear Heidi,
Thank you some much for your words. It is stories like yours that make me proactive, as I am very much solution-oriented and have a "take matters into your own hands" approach to maternal health and reproductive rights. I am happy to provide support and help transform the experiences of women birthing. We are our world's most precious resource and must reclaim that power by helping each other recognize this strength. I am glad you had a different experience and hope any wounds you may have heal as well. Feel free to connect with me anytime. Be well sister friend!

Love,
Ynanna

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

HeidiSB's picture

Dear Ynanna, Thanks for your

Dear Ynanna,

Thanks for your response.

I feel lucky to have been able to heal from a traumatic first birth with experience. The birth of my second son gave me some sense of control that was completely taken away by the care providers I was trusting the first time. And when I was surprised to become pregnant again 10 years later I was able to let go, I no longer needed such tight control. I had felt like less of a woman, less of Mother, because I failed long labors and ended up with c-sections. Yet, the two beautiful boys I birthed before (a word I had to claim... I used to say I didn't give birth, I had a c-secion), made my role as Mother indisputable. And as I mentioned before, good people around me encouraged me to see the messaging of fear that was wrong and getting in the way. I approached all of pregnancy and childbirth (and yes, a third c-section) so differently.

What a gift! But so many women don't have that chance to heal through doing it again. So we walk around with these traumas that may not ever be processed. When reading These Waters Run Deep it also struck me the healing you are doing through experience in providing prenatal care and attending births. Your bravery in following your calling of midwifery despite the triggering from your past abuse is inspiring. We must talk about these things. Before, during and after. And you are right. The internet is an amazing forum and tool for this.

How interesting I was drawn to your article - because I had "moved on". But stopping here to say this, to think through and name this healing of my own, and this truth of our cultural pressures on birth - has been healing and strengthening.

Thank you again.

Love,
Heidi

LatiNegra's picture

Dear Heidi, This is by far

Dear Heidi,
This is by far one of the best messages I've received. Thank you so much for sharing your healing journey with me. It inspires me to keep doing what I'm doing. I hope that we can continue to dialogue more as we go along this path. So much love!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

Tam's picture

A pledge of sisterhood

Dear LatiNegra,

Your voice is beautiful, powerful and full of information that touches the heart deeply. It is a privilege to be part of a network with you.

Your determination and strength shine through. It gives hope to know of all you are up to, and at the same time, your gentle but firm call to action is clear. As I read, my own determination to stay open to learning took on a new level, and I was reminded that I have much to learn from sisters whose experiences are different from my own.

You offer within your story so many down to earth examples and suggestions of what to pay attention to, and of how to join hands in working toward the same goals, goals that leave no one out. Your call to pay attention to, and act on all forms of racism, is heard and taken to heart. To learn that you have had such a painful path finding your strength and confidence renews my determination to do more. You gently and powerfully offer many possibilities for ongoing and increased action, wherever we are.

Your work as a Doula/Midwife is inspiring and I celebrate your determination to bring forward ancient ways that have been covered up or eroded by the creation of fear and a misplaced dependency on the medical model.

I learned a lot from reading your story, and appreciate how many suggestions for solidarity you have woven in. You inspire and gently but firmly challenge us to find ways to work together against the injustices that you so clearly outline.

Here in Canada there is an ugly tendency among even thoughtful people to have a naive understanding of "life in the USA". Your words help me find new ways to counteract ignorance here, and to be more aware, myself. We are not finished until we are all free. Thank you - for being there, and for all you do. I look forward to discovering "These Waters Run Deep", and to linking arms in whatever way possible.

My main reason for writing all this (I realise it is long) is to send my main message: Your words are powerful!

With love, In Sisterhood,

Tam

LatiNegra's picture

Tam, Your comment has left me

Tam,
Your comment has left me complete speechless. I am so floored by your praise of my work and am so humbled. Thank you so much for taking the time to describe in such detail how I have touched you. We can keep this connection going and keep making ourselves and everyone around us more free. Thanks again for your beautiful words, they are received with much gratitude!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

Tam's picture

finding each other

Dear Ynanna,

I was so heartened to receive your message back, If my words have encouraged you, we are stronger. That my words were able to touch you, also shows that the power of finding each other and connecting with each other, available to us now through World Pulse, has endless possibilities toward our collective goal of freedom for all women. It is a dream come true. Today I look forward to exploring thesewatersrundeep. You, and your work, continue to give me great hope.

with love,

Tam

binapatel33's picture

Thank you

Your story is incredible and you have come a long way. But you have achieved quite a bit in your young career and have many strong years ahead of you! I really admire your ability to educate women through technology so that they can overcome their fears!

Thank you for all the wonderful work you do!!

Bina

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

LatiNegra's picture

Dear Bina, Thank you for

Dear Bina,
Thank you for being so supportive of my journey. It means the world to me and I will continue to move forward. Be well and stay strong!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

Jenna Kz's picture

Thank you for Sharing

Hello Ynanna,

Thank you for sharing your story. Your passion for maternal healthcare access in urban areas is amazing. Your focus on community development and education is truly inspiring. Something that I find interesting is the multifaceted approach you use to address the issue, through recognizing the stigmas with reproductive health, being a midwife, and raising awareness in the community.

Thank you for sharing this important issues, both on World Pulse and your own social media accounts.
Best,
Jenna

LatiNegra's picture

Thank you Jenna. I decided

Thank you Jenna. I decided years ago that I needed to take matters into my own hands and so this decision fuels my passion. Thank you for reading my work!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

muhorakeye's picture

merci pour votre histoire

merci pour votre histoire très intéressante tu montre votre expérience a travers le technologie j’entends que tu as fait beaucoup et je espéré que tu devras continuer de montre votre courage en lisant votre journal j'ai constate que vous etez une femme importante dans le monde

Muhorakeye Esperance

Kit's picture

Impressive work!

Wow! I applaud the work you are doing and love seeing how you are taking available media and using it to spread your message, and the messages of the women in your networks. You are taking positive action to combat the negative (and erroneous) messages you (and probably countless others) internalized when you were young. Your work shines with true, heartfelt beauty, and is so powerful! Keep going! I support you 100%!

LatiNegra's picture

Thank you so much Kit. I'm

Thank you so much Kit. I'm honored to receive your words. Be well!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

Vision40's picture

Awareness

Hi Ynanna
It has been a pleasure reading your article and I think I was moved the most by your well rounded insights, you are combining many ideas together so you have the right ingredients for success...to make change happen it takes the right conditions and you are certainly weighing up all your options to create these and reviewing these to keep moving forwards. Keep up the inspiring work.

First you need to believe you can
Take care
Nicola

LatiNegra's picture

Dear Nicola, Thank you so

Dear Nicola,
Thank you so much for your feedback. I appreciate your support of my work. Be well!

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

Cordelia Andze's picture

Keep it up!

Dear Ynanna,
your write up embodying your experiences has greatly touched me. I am overwhelmed with the fact that you are championing the cause of the under privileged with regards to their maternal health needs. You are not just advocating for change in your community but reaching out to the whole world. you are an inspiration!!!.
Keep it up!!!
Cordelia Andze

Cordelia Andze
Cameroon
Email: candze@yahoo.com

LatiNegra's picture

Awww thank you Cordelia! Your

Awww thank you Cordelia! Your words make me so happy; I am accomplishing what I wanted, which is to be able to touch others. Thank you for your words :)

Ynanna Djehuty
Certified Birth Doula and Writer
Email: ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com
Website: thesewatersrundeep.com

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