Members and Partners

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Nicole JeanBaptiste

With ancestry from the Southern United States and the Caribbean, and based in the Bronx, NY, Nicole strives to center the borough and the Black experience in the birth and social justice activism in which she engages.  She is the founder of Sésé, Birthing Freedom, formerly known as Sésé Doula Services, and co-founder of the Bx (Re)Birth and Progress Collective.
Nicole received formal training to become a Full Spectrum Doula through Ancient Song Doula Services in April of 2014 and once again through the Matrona Holistic Birth Doula Program
Nicole has served families whose cultural and linguistic backgrounds vary, supporting clients in hospital settings, birthing centers and at home.
In May of 2015, Nicole received a Masters degree in Oral History from Columbia University.  As an MA student she designed and executed an oral history project on the evolution of birthing practices among women of African descent and how this may be linked to the history of midwifery in the American South. 

Elizabeth Mekuria

is a HypnoBirthing Educator, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Plant Based Personal Chef and Certified Breastfeeding Counselor. She has been supporting birthing people for 17 years in Seattle, Honolulu and New York City. Her work is founded on the understanding that the liberation and empowerment of birthing people is key to changing the world. She offers a variety of supportive services that empower parents to make the choices they want during their transformation into parenthood. As a hypnobirthing educator, she teaches parents how to use their natural birthing instincts, free themselves from fears and negative emotions surrounding birth, and to be aware and in full control during their birthing experience.

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is a mother, educator, dancer and self-proclaimed chef. Born and raised in the Bronx by parents of Southern and Caribbean (St. Lucia) roots, Cagney embraces the beauty of Black American and Caribbean culture while trying to navigate and understand its complexities. By majoring in International Studies with a minor in Performing Arts, she travelled throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to demonstrate how language and performance helps one maintain culture and resist oppression. During her travels, she trained in traditional Caribbean folkloric dances that are specific to Trinidad and Tobago and the Spanish language. Cagney has been teaching English as a Second Language to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) for over 10 years now. She has also trained in Dunham Technique, a dance form that combines traditional dances from the African Diaspora, modern and ballet, for over 8 years. 

 

Cagney's understanding of dance blossomed during pregnancy. She realized how dance is a mechanism that helps one understand how the body works and how to control it, especially during labor and delivery. Cagney is devoted to assisting women with gaining, developing, and maintaining the physical strength and confidence to carry, deliver and parent their children through dance. She firmly believes that through dance, people can harness the control and strength of their body and mind to effectively use it while in labor and reduce medical intervention during labor and delivery. Recognizing that Black women are disproportionately harmed in pregnancy, her goal is to support Black births and prevent trauma. 

Cagney JeanBaptiste