On Saturday August 26, 2023, the African American Breastfeeding Network (AABN) hosted the “9th Annual Lift Up Every Baby!,” Heritage Green at Westlawn Gardens, 6201 W. Custer Ave. This year’s theme “Oh, What A Joy!” highlights the joys of the journey of parenthood, the beauty and blessings of birth, babies and breastfeeding. The AABN’s annual Lift Up Every Baby! event was started in 2015 to acknowledge community and family resiliencies, and cultural norms irrespective of inequities and health disparities.
The event kicks off with an opening cultural ceremony of ‘lifting babies up’ as a way to demonstrate what we wish and hope for our children and our community. Pregnant and new parents can attend seven health/wellness stations to learn better self-help techniques and tips to achieve improved overall health. In keeping with the theme, fathers/partners expressions of joy gathering reminds Dads of the glees of becoming a parent and the amusement of fatherhood. Other event highlights were children play and craft area, free boy hair cuts, community connectors/ resources, book bags and school supply give away, a community dinner, and community baby shower. There were also many community leaders present like Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson and State Senator Lena Taylor who offered blessing and well wishes to the families (second row, left photo).
Over 200 families have registered for this event. This event is hosted by the City of Milwaukee Housing Authority, and the Best Babies Zone, and other sponsoring organizations. The African American Breastfeeding Network was founded in 2008 by Angelia Wilks-Tate and Dalvery Blackwell (second row, left photo, center) set their eyes on addressing breastfeeding disparities and came together on a sunny June afternoon with a host of community leaders to discuss forming an organization.