It was one WHAM of a weekend

Debra L. Caplan, MPA, Nancy L. Rackoff, JD, and Karen Wolk Feinstein, PhD out front of Birthing A Movement on Saturday, June 8.

The Women's Health Activist Movement Global (WHAMglobal) connected with hundreds of women and girls on June 8 and 9 with two public events on the theme of "Birthing A Movement." WHAMglobal's mission is to identify the root causes of maternal mortality and better understand how to support and care for moms through the entirety of their care. At the William Pitt Union in Oakland on June 8, WHAMglobal – along with several key partners -- hosted an evening of art and activism, including a reception and a pop-up exhibit featuring 11 local feminist artists celebrating pregnancy and motherhood.

More than 100 guests visited the displays that included paintings, quilts, and individual cards with freshwater pearls representing women who have died due to complications from childbirth. Nearly all the artists were on hand to engage with guests, who shared their own childbirth experiences on video. Pitt Public Health shared a documentary about menstrual practices and displacement in Far-West Nepal, as well as a visual storytelling experience titled "Your Stories, Period," a collection of text-based and illustrated stories about living without access to menstrual products. AHN Women provided an interactive exhibit, "All of Her. All of Her Life," showcasing 365 days of women's health experiences at Allegheny Health Network.

(top) Two paintings from Natalie Hays Stewart; (left) Jessica Burke, PhD, Pitt Public Health participates in interactive art by Elizabeth Myers Castonguay, MFA; (right) William Pitt Union.

On June 9, WHAMglobal engaged with the nearly 4,000 attendees of the annual Summer Reading Extravaganza outside of the main Carnegie Library in Oakland. WHAM's activity and information tent offered painting for kids, visually appealing books about a growing family, pregnancy, motherhood, and youth activism. Staff signed up 200 people to receive more information, and 57 women and girls completed story cards completing the sentence "Supporting women's health matters to me because… ."

As momentum continues to grow, WHAMglobal is looking forward toward leveraging its growing networks of advocates both locally and nationally to further impact its regional and national policy agenda.

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