Conversations from the Summit

Conversations from the Summit: Feature in The BreastfeedLA Bee from 10/24/2018

We had the most inspiring conversations at this year’s BreastfeedLA Summit: Taking Action to Reduce Infant Feeding Inequities in LA County: Our Collective Responsibility at the California Endowment. We were happy to see so many familiar (and new faces) in attendance. It shows commitment to the issue and recognition that it is a communal need that must be addressed.

For the past eighteen months LA County has been intentionally looking at strategies to address health disparities and inequities. As Dr. Ferrer, Director of LA County Department of Public Health pointed out in her opening keynote, institutional and systemic racism is an overarching social determinant of health.  Dr. Ferrer was very clear on the importance of making sure an equity lens is used and if it is not, change will not be effective.

The key areas of focus for the summit were suggested by a committee of hospital and community stakeholders and later re-affirmed via a community needs assessment conducted by BreastfeedLA where community partners ranked and provided open comment on the areas they most felt were most  important for the summit to focus on. Moreover, an additional community assessment was administered focused on lactation professionals to assist in understanding the current landscape in Los Angeles County which identified a marked gap in specific community needs such as language disparities. Local lactivist and journalist, To-wen Tseng spoke to the relatively non-existent lactation support for Chinese-Americans who may have language barriers in our County while Los Angeles is home to the largest Chinese American population in the USA. The community needs assessment validated her experience as it identified only two out of over 300+ responses from lactation professionals who spoke any Chinese dialect.

While the conversations we had were intense, emotional, and powerful, we have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and felt compelled to share some comments with you all.

  • “It was a very intense summit, but I feel energized to be part of the change. Thanks again!”
  • “I am thankful for the opportunity and connections made over 2 days…”
  • “Just wanted to say that you all did an awesome job putting together [the] event. It was really powerful and the speakers were great. Thank you to all of you for working so hard on it.”
  • “You and all the volunteers and staff did an excellent job with the summit! Congratulations on our success!”
  • “Thank you so much for your support and work on this event. It was amazing. Beautifully crafted. I am honored to have been a part of it.”
  • “Thank you for letting me be a part of this incredible conversation.  I learned a lot and am really thinking about breastfeeding in the Indian community now that I’ve become more aware of the various discussions that revolve around this.
  • “It was wonderful! The content was beyond important, amazing speakers!!! The ambiance/setting was perfect…A perfect event.”
  • “Thanks for being such a great partner in this work.  I was so impressed.”
  • “When I think of the summit… I feel full of oxytocin – you are all smart, talented, beautiful people bringing healing to where it’s so very needed!  Thank you for letting me be part of the party.”
  • “That was a historic event you organized last week.  Very Radical and Brave for these times.  People were shaken up, but it was needed.  It was sobering but at the same time invigorating for me.”
  • “I really appreciated the event and expanding my understanding of my behaviors and habits in social and professional settings.”
  • “It was very enlightening and much needed.” 
  • “I thought the summit was very thought provoking and helped me see things from a different perspective. You all did an amazing job!!”
  • “You all are doing an amazing job!!! Keep it up!!!”
  • “The summit reminded me that we are all in this together no matter what color, race, religion, orientation, age, sex, etc…. It really does take a village.”
  • “Thank you for spearheading the Summit. We learned a lot from the topics & panel discussion. Kudos to your team!  Looking forward to more fruitful seminars.”

And perhaps the best one yet, the one that encompasses all our hopes for the summit:

“I just want to thank BreastfeedLA for last week’s summit. It was very meaningful to me and helped me connect many different issues together.

I felt that the summit allowed important discussions to start and showed that breastfeeding isn’t just an issue of breastfeeding in and of itself, but one, like many others, that reflects the various oppressive structures within which it exists.

Most importantly, seeing/hearing/meeting white women allies reminded me as a person of color that we are all in this together and that there is hope for change and a brighter future. There were a few people in the summit who thought that BreastfeedLA was not the BreastfeedLA they knew before, but for me, it seems whatever changed, it has been for the better.

Again, thank you for the very inspiring two days. This experience has definitely inspired me to improve my work and to see my clients through a different set of eyes.”

I was so inspired by all of you, and I know that if we work together we can continue to make great change for LA.  Look for follow up emails soon with specific actions that you can take to further breastfeeding equity in Los Angeles County.


Arissa Palmer
Executive Director