Celebrating Local Black Heroes: Kama Tai Mitchell

Kama Tai Mitchell portrait

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Michigan is proud to celebrate Local Black Heroes in honor of Black History Month. Join us on social media and our website throughout February to learn more about the impact of local heroes in your community.

Kama Tai Mitchell is the Founder and Executive Director of Rootead. The Kalamazoo enrichment center offers, “healing arts and birth work programs that are diverse, inclusive, anti-racist, and trauma informed.” Mitchell’s work exemplifies her dedication to justice for all, beginning at birth.

Birthing Justice

A doula (ancient Greek for “servant to women”) provides emotional, physical, and sometimes spiritual support to a birthing person during labor. Oftentimes the doula continues that support in the postpartum period.

In Kalamazoo, babies of color are 4x more likely to die before their first birthday than their white neighbors. With local black and brown babies dying four times as often as white babies, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) doulas play an instrumental role in closing the infant mortality gap.

A certified birth and postpartum doula with DONA International, Mitchell is deeply entrenched in birth work and birthing justice. She is a key component to the elimination of racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality in Kalamazoo. Her work as a doula helps ensure that birthing folks in the Kalamazoo area receive informed and equitable care.

Love and Light

Nature, body movement, and cultural liberation are pillars of Mitchell’s values, and the work she does is reflective of that. Inspired by nature, her three sons, peers, and her elders, Mitchell works hard to give back to her community on a consistent basis.

She shares her tools and techniques for healing and optimistic positivity. She knows that this world needs love and light- and she is here to provide it.

Influences and Time

Adrienne Maree Brown, one of Mitchell’s favorite authors, shared on her blog recently: “…inside all of the circumstances, there’s the possibility of this being one of the most beautiful, connected, grounded, liberating, fertile, creative, abundant times of your life.

There’s also, and this feels very related to abundance, the possibility that these are your last days. How do you treat precious time?”

In a seemingly chaotic world, it can feel impossible to remain hopeful about the time we’re spending here on Earth. Mitchell shares that Brown stands out to her as an inspiration because of the way she learns from nature, and, “steeps herself in transformation practices to liberate all people[s].”

Mitchell cares for her community by spending her time empowering the people that she meets– not unlike Adrienne Maree Brown.

“Be Magnificently You!”

Mitchell is motivated by the hope of leaving, “…a trail of empowered, healthy, successful people in my wake. I want to be remembered for loving and learning, steeped in benevolence for all humanity.” She shares, “All of us, every human is a miracle, with a purpose. Self-reflection and evaluation allow you to find and act in your purpose. Be magnificently you!”

Through her work and the way she impacts her community, Mitchell is inspiring to everyone she meets, just as she is inspired by them.

“Justice should start at birth.” Watch Kama Tai Mitchell share in her TEDxKalamazoo Talk, Birthing Justice & Body Awareness: An Afrocentric Lens to Healing Justice.

Find Local Black Heroes throughout the month of February on social media and on our website. Visit ThinkBigToday.org/Volunteer for more information about how you can ignite the power and potential of youth in Southwest Michigan.

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