En­tre­pre­neur Spotlight: Meet mid­wife Ja­ma­rah Amani

South Florida Times - - METRO - Staff Re­port

In honor of Na­tional En­trepreneur­ship Month, the South Florida Times is high­light­ing Florida en­trepreneurs and in­trapreneurs to let read­ers know about the var­i­ous prod­ucts and ser­vices they pro­vide. Meet Ja­ma­rah Amani, a lo­cal mid­wife.

Ja­ma­rah Amani is a com­mu­nity mid­wife who be­lieves in the power of birth and that ev­ery baby has a hu­man right to be breast fed. Her mis­sion is to do her part and build a move­ment for Birth Jus­tice lo­cally, na­tion­ally and glob­ally.

A com­mu­nity or­ga­nizer from the age of 16, Amani has worked with sev­eral or­ga­ni­za­tions across the United States, the Caribbean and in Africa on var­i­ous pub­lic health is­sues, in­clud­ing HIV pre­ven­tion, in­fant mor­tal­ity risk re­duc­tion, ac­cess to emer­gency con­tra­cep­tion and ac­cess to mid­wifery care.

She is cur­rently the di­rec­tor of South­ern Birth Jus­tice Net­work, a 501(c)3 non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Amani stud­ied Africana Stud­ies, Women’s Stud­ies and Mid­wifery at cen­ters of learn­ing such as Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, Clark At­lanta Univer­sity and, most re­cently, In­ter­na­tional School of Mid­wifery.

Amani is also a Cer­ti­fied Lac­ta­tion Con­sul­tant. In ad­di­tion to rais­ing four ac­tive chil­dren (who she said are also rais­ing her), Amani of­fers mid­wifery care, breast­feed­ing con­sul­ta­tions and child­birth ed­u­ca­tion to fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties across the state of Florida.

Tell us what in­dus­try you are in and what led you down this path?

My in­dus­try is birth work. I started as an ap­pren­tice mid­wife and then went to mid­wifery school. I have been a li­censed mid­wife in Florida since 2013. I was first in­spired by my own ex­pe­ri­ence giv­ing birth to my now 16-year-old daugh­ter, with a mid­wife.

What do you think are the best ways to en­cour­age and as­sist women in be­com­ing lead­ers (i.e. ed­u­ca­tion, men­tor­ing)?

The best way to en­cour­age women to be­come lead­ers is to start young, work­ing with girls to let them know that they are valu­able. There are so many things in our so­ci­ety that give young women neg­a­tive mes­sages about their bod­ies, their in­tel­li­gence and their worth. Girls are sub­ject to men­tal and phys­i­cal vi­o­lence on a daily ba­sis, just turn­ing on the ra­dio, walk­ing in their neigh­bor­hoods and even in their homes. We have to be vig­i­lant about nur­tur­ing girls, par­tic­u­larly Black girls who are un­der some of the great­est threats due to sys­temic racism and sex­ism. It is im­por­tant to let them know that they mat­ter, that their com­mu­ni­ties need them and that the world needs their magic.

What, in your opin­ion, are the top qual­i­ties of women lead­ers?

The top qual­i­ties that I value are hon­esty, in­tegrity, bold­ness, au­then­tic­ity and a com­mit­ment to so­cial jus­tice.

How do you achieve work-life bal­ance?

Liv­ing my life on-call as a mid­wife, I strive to be bal­anced by fo­cus­ing on fam­ily and self-care. I usu­ally wake up in the morn­ing and do deep breath­ing and med­i­ta­tion. I make qual­ity time for my­self (of­ten read­ing or watch­ing the sun­rise) at least once a week and qual­ity time with each of my chil­dren daily. My fa­vorite thing is ‘Self-care Sun­days!’

How did you get where you are to­day, and who/what helped you along the way?

A lot of peo­ple helped me get where I am, start­ing with my mother and my grand­moth­ers, and even be­fore that my an­ces­tors. I come from a long line of first-born daugh­ters with high stan­dards.You know, that Black women ex­cel­lence. Along the way, teach­ers and el­ders saw a lot in me, be­lieved in me and nur­tured me through grow­ing pains and be­yond my in­se­cu­ri­ties. To­day, I am still trans­form­ing into my high­est self and con­tin­u­ously reach­ing back to help oth­ers as well.


Ja­ma­rah Amani is a com­mu­nity mid­wife.

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