A beautiful expression of love.
A Black maternal health organization created a campaign series giving love letters to Black mothers.
Mamatoto Village is a D.C.-based maternal health organization founded in 2013 by Cassietta Pringle and Aza Nedhari. Its mission to serve communities most impacted by health, economic and social inequities is at the crux of their work. They offer a range of services from workforce development training and emergency resources to essential goods tailored to meet Black womxn and families of colors needs. Recently, the organization partnered with publicist Mariah Oates to curate a new campaign sharing their love for Black mothers.
The “Letters to Black Mamas” campaign was initiated by Mamatoto Village’s Executive Director, Aza Nedhari. Together, Nedhari and Oates devised an innovative way to encourage their clients for Mother’s Day and create a support network. 100% of the leadership staff at Mamatoto identify as Black womxn, with 93% of their clients being Black people in the D.C. metropolitan area. The campaign involved a concerted effort from Nedhari and Oates to gather testimonials from one mother to another as a way to uplift and empower each other.
“[Aza] came to me one day and said she had this idea to provide letters of encouragement to some of our clients for Mothers Day, and we could make it a whole campaign. I loved the idea and thought it would be really impactful to have moms do video letters providing encouragement to other moms going through similar experiences as them. I loved the idea of having the videos shot documentary style, so it felt more intimate. I wanted the person watching to feel like the person in the video was speaking directly to them – because they were! I know that 2020 took a lot out of everyone, but I know from personal experience the toll it took on me as a mother, so I wanted to provide hope to those who may be suffering in silence,” Oates told Because Of Them We Can.
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The Village hopes that the letters serve as a reminder to Black mothers that they are not siloed in their experiences and that their feelings are valid. Oates said she hopes this “[feels] like a sigh of relief.”
To date, the organization has already received dozens of submissions, both written and visual. While the campaign was initially centered around Mother’s Day, they hope that they can continue to inspire Black mothers with their letters all year round. Currently, Mamatoto is accepting letters from Black mothers and Black birthing people nationwide. Submissions can be customized or tailored around a list of preset topics.
“Mothering is a journey, and although everyone has a different story, they all begin and end with love. This series was designed to be a love letter to you – for your unwavering support, courage, and patience. We hope that the stories you hear or read remind you that you are seen, you are appreciated, and your experience is valid,” a statement on the website reads.
Photo Courtesy of Mamatoto Village