top of page
Screen Shot 2024-02-21 at 1.26.40 PM.png

The Official Guide to the  Anarcha, Lucy, & Betsey Third Annual Day of Reckoning Conference

Anarcha, Lucy, & Betsey

Third Annual
Day of Reckoning Conference

Conference tickets are SOLD OUT

February 27 - March 1, 2024

Montgomery & Mobile, AL

Event Venue: The Warehouse at Alley Station

  • 130 Commerce Street, Montgomery, AL 36104 

This conference will provide an opportunity for obstetricians, gynecologists, doulas, midwives, and medical practitioners
 to learn how to change the narrative in race in healthcare disparities.

The event will include:

* Welcome Reception Dinner

* Swag Bag

* All access to private conference events

* Continental breakfast each day

* Lunch provided each day

* 2 dinners

* Wellness pods

* Tours of the Legacy Museum

* A one day trip to Africatown in Mobile, Alabama, home of the first Mardi Gras. We will visit the home of the last slave ship to arrive in the United States, the Clotilda, and meet descendants of the survivors of the ship.  Come experience medical history and meet the original midwives from Pritchard, Alabama, home of Onnie Lee Logan “Mother Wit”. Join us as we dine on the succulent flavors of Mobile with local artists and historians.

Conference Host: Michelle Browder

Screen Shot 2023-12-03 at 5.35.01 PM.png

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy authored the book entitled Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, (revised 2017) which addresses the residual impacts of trauma on African Descendants in the Americas. Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS) lays the groundwork for understanding how the past has influenced the present, and opens up the discussion of how we can eliminate non-productive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors developed to cope and survive the traumatic periods of capture, transport, enslavement, Jim Crow and current day racial terrorism.

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Sharon Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is a DC-based OB/GYN and Certified Menopause Practitioner on a mission to empower women to take charge of their health.


Conference tickets are SOLD OUT

conference hotels

Embassy Suites
300 Tallapoosa Street,
Montgomery, AL 36104


Staybridge Suites
275 Lee Street
Montgomery, AL 36104


additional hotels

100 Commerce Street, Montgomery, AL 36104

120 Madison Avenue Montgomery, AL 36104

116 Coosa Street Montgomery, AL 36104

152 Coosa Street Montgomery, AL 36104

I’m a paragraph. Double click me or click Edit Text, it's easy.

201 Tallapoosa Street, Montgomery, AL 36104

AGENDA: february 27 - montgomery, al

The Mothers of Gynecology Health and Wellness Clinic

Screen Shot 2023-12-08 at 7.49.58 PM.png

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Welcome Ceremony
The Mothers of Gynecology Health and Wellness Clinic
33 Perry Street, Montgomery, AL

AGENDA: FEBRUARY 28 - montgomery, al

the warehouse

7:30 am - 8:00 am

Pre-Registration The Warehouse
130 Commerce Street, Montgomery, AL

8:00 am - 8:20 am

Conference Host, Michelle Browder and Friends

8:20 am - 9:10 am

Dr. Joy DeGruy
9:10 am - 9:25 am Book Signing

9:30 am - 10:00 am

Ground with Opening Conversations

Shawnee Gibson, Aftershock Documentary

Xaviera Bell, Author of The Mourning After: A Black Infant Mortality Anthology

10:00 am  - 10:20 am 

Confronting Bias In The Room

We Are All We Got:

:: Jasmin Eatman, MD-PHD Medical Student, Emory University

10:20 am - 10:45 am

Nurse, Doula, Midwife, Obstetrician, and Gynecologist

A round table conversation confronting healthcare stigma in maternity care

Introduction and Moderator

Panel Discussion

:: Hakima Tafunzi Payne, MSN, RN 

:: Porsche M. Holland-Otunba, Doula

:: Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN

11:00 am -11:45 am

Chart The Course To Saving Our Wombs:

Fibroids and Maternal Health

Dr. Pierre Johnson

Book signing

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch and Learn  

Discussions and Networking, Book Signing Opportunities

Keynote: 1:10 pm - 2:10 pm

ALB Day When Healers Need Healing Series

Menopause and Pregnancy: Is it Possible?

Early Menopause and Fertility

How To Survive Menopause

:: Dr. Sharon Malone, OBGYN

Grown Woman Talk

A Conversation with Dr. Malone and

:: Omisade Burney-Scott,

A Black Girls Guide How To Survive Menopause


2:15 pm - 2:45 pm

Chart The Course Using Art, History and Medicine To Change Narratives in Maternity and Pregnancy Care

:: Moderator: Michelle Browder

:: JC Hallman, Author: Say Anarcha

:: Karyn Parsons, Author of How High the Moon & Clouds Over California,

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm 

Chart the Course Changing Maternity and Pregnancy Care Policy

:: JaTaune Bosby Gilchrist, ACLU Executive Director

:: Dr. Stephanie Mitchell, The Birth Sanctuary

:: Dr. Heather Skanes, Oasis Birthing Center

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Visit Exhibitors and Vendors Wellness Pods

Walk to The National Memorial for Peace and Justice

Legacy Museum - Open Until 6:00 pm

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Anarcha Lucy Betsey Day Concert and Dinner

Location: 17 Mildred Street

Reception: Meet the Speakers 

Walk or Trolley to Mothers of Gynecology Monument Park

Must wear your badge to get in to both venues.


Board buses at 7:00 am, Depart 7:30 am

Arrival in Mobile, Alabama 9:45 am -10:00 am

Welcome Ceremony

GulfQuest National Maritime Museum

Sponsored in-part by

Runway and Society of the Clotilda

10:00 am - 11:00 am

Jessica Norwood and Chandra Brown

11:10 am - 11:50 am

SEE Mobile’s History Through A Different Lens

Michelle Browder, Dr. Sharon Malone,

and Eric Finley, DFFAAHT

April Livingston and Daryn Glassbrook

Hajjah Lennora Muti'ah Pierrot

Q & A
12:10 pm - 12:25 pm

Grab and Go Lunch on Bus and Boat

BUS 1 and BUS 2
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Ann Clemons ALB Docent

Boarding Perdido Queen with

Jocelyn Davis and Dr. Edith Langford

Promptly Departs 12:30 pm - Returns at 2:30 pm

BUS 3 and BUS 4
12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

Driving Tour Led by: Eric Finley DFFAAHT

Follow to Dr. Sharon Malone Neighborhood

Cultural Center Avenue

1:10 pm - 1:50 pm

Wanda Battle ALB Docent

:: Medical Museum

April Livingston and Midwife

Light Refreshments

1:10 pm - 2:10 pm

Kisha Nichols

:: Africa-town Heritage Site

2:00 pm

June Young

:: Africa-town Heritage Site

2:00 pm

Kisha Nichols

:: Africa-town Heritage Site


Jocelyn Davis and Dr. Edith Langford

BUS 1 and BUS 2
2:30 pm

Driving Tour

Dr. Sharon Malone Neighborhood

Dora Finley Sites

Cultural Avenue Center

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Bus 1 To Medical Museum

Bus 2 To Africa Town Hertage Site

5:00 pm

All Buses meet at FLAVAS.

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm dinner.

Buses head back to Montgomery after dinner.

AGENDA: MARCH 1 - montgomery, al

Meeting At Alabama State Capitol

9:15 am - 11:00 am

Meeting At Dexter King Memorial Church

Chart The Course To J. Marion Sims Relocation:

Changing The Narrative Through Policy

Michelle Browder

The Creator of The Mothers of Gynecology Monument


Dr. Veronica Pimentel

How Long? Not Long!

Panel discussion:

Moderated by Dr. Aletha Maybank--American Medical Association

Charles Johnson--4Kira4Moms

Professor Deleso Alford--Henrietta Lacks Advocate

Dr. Lee Sharma--Medical Association of the State of Alabama


Bring Signs Representing Your Organization

as we make the case for the relocation of the Sims Monument to

The Mothers of Gynecology Clinical Museum.

Site of J. Marion Sims' office located at 33 South Perry Street.

Light grab and go lunch.

Speaker Biographies


For 30 years, Michelle has been an advocate and activist for the at-risk and marginalized. Her heart is especially tender toward disenfranchised youth.

She noticed that young people needed someone to listen, encourage, and provide a safe space for them. She created a place that immersed students in history, "real talk," spoken word and visual art. This experience birthed an arts-centered diversion program that was used by juvenile detention centers in Alabama and Georgia.

In the spring of 2012, Michelle and a group of chaperones took 56 students to Washington, DC to see Attorney Bryan Stevenson argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. The case focused on the constitutionality of youth being sentenced to death in prison. This encounter changed both the students’ and Michelle’s lives exponentially and birthed the I Am More Than Youth Empowerment Initiative. This initiative expanded into a non-profit that hosted community conversations, arts-centered programs for

schools and youth-led conferences.

Michelle owns and operates More Than Tours, a social enterprise that provides educational and interactive tours to students and tourists exposing the rich and sometimes haunting history of Montgomery, Alabama. More Than Tours has bridged the racial divide by reaching nearly 10,000 students and tourists.

Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy

Dr. Joy Angela DeGruy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication, a Master's degree in Social Work (MSW), a Master's degree in Clinical Psychology, and a Ph.D. in Social Work Research. Dr. DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator.  For over two decades, she served as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Joy DeGruy Publications Inc.

Dr. DeGruy’s research focuses on the intersection of racism, trauma, violence and American chattel slavery. She has over thirty years of practical experience as a professional in the field of social work. She conducts workshops and trainings in the areas of Intergenerational/Historical trauma, mental health, social justice, improvement strategies and evidence-based model development

Dr. Sharon Malone

Dr. Sharon Malone is among the nation’s leading obstetrician / gynecologists with a focus on the specific health challenges associated with menopause.

Dr. Malone brings decades of clinical and real-life experiences to her treatment of women in the menopausal transition and the post-reproductive years. 

Born in Mobile, Alabama, the youngest of 8 children, Dr. Malone was raised by her siblings after the death of her mother and moved multiple times, changing schools four times in four years in three different states. Dr. Malone found strength and resilience in community, in her own work ethic and in her strong belief that there are no accidents in the universe. She went on to graduate cum laude from Harvard with a degree in Psychology and Social Relations and later graduated with honors from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Upon completing her residency at The George Washington University, Dr. Malone served women across Washington DC in her almost 30 years as a practicing Ob/Gyn. As Chief Medical Advisor of Alloy, Dr. Malone wants to bring her expertise to women on a larger scale. She believes that all women should be able to make decisions regarding their health and quality of life base on facts – not fear.

Dr. Pierre Johnson

15 years of Cutting Edge Surgical Experience

Dr. Johnson is a board certified Ob/Gyn specializing in minimally invasive surgery and pelvic floor repair. He is known as the "Fibroid Slayer" and utilizes the DaVinci robot and other laparoscopic approaches to treat fibroids. Dr. Johnson also specializes in cosmetic procedures including liposuction and vaginal reconstruction. Additionally, Dr. Johnson is a sexual health expert with specialized training to treat patients with anorgasmia (inability to achieve orgasm) and dyspareunia (painful intercourse). Helping close the gap on healthcare disparities


Dr. Johnson understands that healthcare disparities are rooted in bias. The lack of access to quality healthcare disproportionally impacts underserved communities. Dr. Johnson pledged as a child to become a physician and fight to eradicate healthcare disparities by sharing his knowledge and skills with those in need. Education and awareness are the keys to equitable healthcare. Doc 4 da Streetz is the voice for the people.


Jasmine Eastman 

Shawnee Benton Gibson, LMSW / FLDC

is the CEO of Spirit of A Woman (S.O.W.) Leadership Development Institute and the Co-Founder of the ARIAH Foundation. She has over 32 years of administrative, clinical and executive coaching experience and expertise in women’s leadership, youth development, reproductive justice, racial equity, individual, couples, family and group counseling, trauma and bereavement. These skills, combined with her spiritual and artistic gifts, allow Shawnee to guide individuals as they navigate the various stages and phases of their lives. Shawnee employs a holistic, cultural and spiritual approach to her work and utilizes a social justice lens as a foundational principle for her service to community. Her primary healing tools consist of spiritual counseling, vision coaching, psychodrama, sociometry, sacred rituals, energy work, the performing arts and storytelling as mediums to ignite transformation and initiate catharsis. 


Shawnee is the subject of the Emmy nominated documentary “Aftershock”. The film follows her and her family as they fight for reproductive justice in the wake of the tragic and preventable death of Shawnee’s eldest daughter, Shamony Makeba Gibson, due to a birth related pulmonary embolism. 

According to Shawnee, “activism is a labor of love and liberation"

Monica R. McLemore PhD, MPH, RN

Dr. Monica R. McLemore is a tenured professor in the Child, Family, and Population Health Department and the Interim Director for the Manning-Price Spratlan Center for Anti-Racism and Equity (CARE) in Nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing. Prior to her arrival at UW, she was a tenured associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco and was named the Thelma Shobe Endowed Chair in 2021. She retired from clinical practice as a public health and staff nurse after a 28-year clinical nursing career in 2019, however, continues to provide flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

Her program of research is focused on understanding reproductive health and justice. To date, she has 105 peer reviewed articles, OpEds and commentaries and her research has been cited in the Huffington Post, Lavender Health, five amicus briefs to the Supreme Court of the United States, and three National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine reports, and a data visualization project entitled How To Fix Maternal Mortality: The first step is to stop blaming women that was published in the 2019 Future of Medicine edition of Scientific American.

Omisade Burney-Scott

 is a Black southern 7th generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy, and social justice.

Jasmin Eatman, MS

Jasmin Eatman is a 2017 graduate of Spelman College where she received her Bachelors degree in Biology. She graduated with her Masters degree in Neuroscience in 2018. Upon graduation, she was accepted into Emory University School of Medicine’s MD/PhD program. Jasmin deferred her matriculation into medical school for one year and, during this time, she lived and worked in Ecuador as a medical volunteer. With aspirations of a career in medicine as an Obstetrician-Gynecologist, she is now a fourth-year medical student in the MD/PhD program at Emory and is completing her PhD through the department of Environmental Health at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health. Her doctoral thesis focuses on analytic models that capture toxic chemical and non-chemical exposures, including racial discrimination, and their impacts on Black maternal morbidity. Jasmin’s present passions and future career aspirations include advocating for diversity in medical education and advancing health equity through policy.


In 2016, our founder, Charles Johnson, lost his wife Kira, during a routine C-section at Cedar Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, California. He founded 4Kira4Moms in 2017 as a response to his experience, to be a voice for other mothers and families facing unnecessary maternal loss, and putting an end to the maternal mortality health crisis. Black women are disproportionately affected by this epidemic, where they are 3x more likely to die from pregnancy than white women. Implicit bias, access to healthcare, and a number of other factors highlight the need for legislation, support for community-based organizations focused on Black maternal health, and access to care, information, and resources for all underserved and disproportionately affected communities.

We are on a mission to advocate for improved maternal health policies and regulations, to educate the public about the impact of maternal mortality in communities, provide peer support to victims’ families, and promote the idea that maternal mortality should be viewed, and discussed as a human rights issue.

Charles Johnson, founder and 4kira4moms worked relentlessly with congress to pass the preventing maternal death act (H.R.1318). This milestone legislation is the first ever to combat the maternal death crisis in the United States. The bill was signed into law December 21, 2018 and dedicated to the memory of Kira Dixon Johnson. Our work has just begun. Our mothers, sisters, daughter, wives need your help. Join the fight!

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH

Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH currently serves as the Chief Health Equity Officer and Senior Vice President for the American Medical Association (AMA) where she focuses on embedding health equity across all the work of the AMA and leading the Center for Health Equity. She joined the AMA in April 2019, to launch AMA’s Center for Health Equity as their inaugural Chief Health Equity Officer. Prior to joining the AMA, Dr. Maybank served as the Founding Deputy Commissioner for the Center for Health Equity at the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2014). Aimed at strengthening equity efforts and transforming organizational culture, the Center became a model of success recognized by NYC leadership, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. She was instrumental in infusing equity at the neighborhood level and advancing the Department’s place-based approach to addressing health inequities. She also set precedence with groundbreaking work at the Office of Minority Health in the Suffolk County Department of Health Services (2006) while serving as the Founding Director.

Dr. Maybank has taught medical and public health students on topics related to health inequities, public health leadership and management, physician advocacy, and community organizing in health. In 2012, along with a group of Black woman physician leaders, Dr. Maybank co-founded "We Are Doc McStuffins", a movement inspired by the Disney Junior character Doc McStuffins serving to shine a light on the critical importance of diversity in medicine.

She is a highly sought-after health expert in media appearing on national and influential media outlets such as NPR, MSNBC, NewsOne, Roland Martin, the Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association to name a few. More recently, due to her leadership in the COVID response efforts, she has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and authored the New York Times Op-ed, “The Pandemic’s Missing Data” to bring more awareness to the structural inequities in the United States. She moderates the AMA monthly web series, "Prioritizing Equity” that elevates the voices and stories of physicians centering equity in COVID-19 response efforts.

Dr. Maybank holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University, a MD from Temple University School of Medicine, and a MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She is a pediatrician and preventive medicine/public health physician.

JC Hallman

J.C. Hallman will discuss his new book Say Anarcha: A Young Woman, a Devious Surgeon, and the Harrowing Birth of Modern Women’s Health (June 2023).

Through this special presentation, we’ll learn more intimately about the women of Say Anarcha, including Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey as well as other enslaved women who pioneered a patient-centered model of care. Their approach to nursing is helping hundreds of thousands of women in the developing world today even while they endured J. Marion Sims’s surgical experiments. Join us for this session which will include a presentation of the women of Say Anarcha, a discussion about the research and writing process.

Dr. Stephanie Mitchell, DNP, CNM, CPM

Stephanie Mitchell is a Certified Professional Midwife who has practiced full scope midwifery in private collaborative practice, hospital, and tertiary care teaching settings since 2016. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, a Masters of Science in Nursing with a specialty in community-based midwifery, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

Dr. Mitchell began her path working as a pediatric nurse, as a labor and delivery nurse, and then as a midwife in a collaborative midwifery group in one of the largest and highest volume hospital systems in Boston. In her time there she logged over 12,000 hours of patient care, attended thousands of births, and delivered over 600 babies.

During this time she saw firsthand the life-changing—and life saving—potential of full-scope midwifery care. In her time with the hospital, she bore witness to many experiences of pain, trauma, and unexpected and unnecessary negative outcomes. She also saw many transcendent birth experiences, beautiful, supported, and ending with joy.

While so many things on our healthcare journeys are beyond our control, one thing Dr. Stephanie realized during this time was that the thing that often made the difference between negative and positive birthing experiences was simple: knowledge.

When people giving birth are empowered with the time and knowledge to process choices and options, understand risks and benefits, and make the most informed decisions on their birthing journeys, outcomes are vastly improved.

In 2020, Dr. Stephanie moved to Gainesville, AL, with her partner of 20 years, Jamie—back to his hometown to follow his dream of owning his own restaurant. At that time, as she was looking for a Birth Center to join so she could continue her work as a midwife, she was surprised to find zero freestanding Birth Centers serving her region. So, she decided to build her own and Birth Sanctuary Gainesville was born.

She is mother to four children, Jasmyn, Jaymie, Jayar and Jesse. She has two Miniature Schnauzers named Issa and Nucky. In her spare time, you can find her vlogging, blogging, reading, or enjoying the outdoors. Her most glorious times are when she finds ways to combine all of these facets and fabric of love together! She is beyond thrilled to be bringing the first freestanding birth center to the state of Alabama.

JaTaune Bosby, ACLU Executive Director

Bosby, a native of Illinois with Alabama roots, has been with the ACLU of Alabama for five years as a leader of the organization’s growth and visibility.  “As we are witnessing the reckoning of the moral compass of this country, we are reminded of the history of Alabama’s impact on movement work; how it changed the face of the nation and informs the direction of our social advocacy work now,” said Bosby. “During this critical moment, the ACLU’s priorities are more important than ever. As we create the vision for our way forward, the ACLU of Alabama is positioned to make a long-lasting impact in the state heading into this new decade, elevating the inequities plaguing marginalized communities across the state and our commitment to centering and continue fighting for the civil rights and liberties at every turn, creating a more equitable Alabama.” 

Porsche M. Holland-Otunba, CLC, C-CBE, PMH-C

is a Philadelphia native, wife, girl mom, and Tuskegee University alum. Porsche is a third generation #preeclampsiasurvivor and has experienced birth trauma. Her first birth and lactation journey in 2017 led her to answer the call to address the outrageous Black maternal health crisis in the US (starting in her own city). Porsche has supported families as a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Lactation Counselor. She is now the CEO and Lead Consultant of Reclaim Black Motherhood LLC, a firm dedicated to investing birth workers and contributing to program development, curriculum building, and research efforts in the birth, postpartum, mental health, and lactation spaces.

Jessica Norwood

As the founder and CEO of RUNWAY, Jessica leads alongside a powerhouse team of women of color who are committed to resourcing Black founders by providing start-up capital and nurturing their ongoing success. Each leader at RUNWAY brings a unique skill set to the organization’s shared purpose: to advance resilience for Black businesses and the communities they serve, through practices and infrastructure that close the racial wealth gap for good.


Widely recognized for her financial activism, Jessica is a former fellow of the Center for Economic Democracy fellow, RSF Social Finance’s Integrated Capital Institute (now called Just Economy Institute), winner of the prestigious Nathan Cummings Foundation Fellowship, a former BALLE (now called Common Future) Local Economy Fellow, the Political Power and Social Change fellow of the Hip Hop Archive at the Hutchins Center of Harvard University, as well as a lifelong fellow of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and Southern University College of Business for Emerging Leaders. Her participation and leadership in these programs has deeply informed groundbreaking work on restorative and reparative economies and Black entrepreneurship.   

Heather Skanes, MD

is a compassionate, patient-centered obstetrician and gynecologist who is proud to serve her community of Birmingham, Alabama, at Oasis Women’s Health. Born and raised in Birmingham, Dr. Skanes is dedicated to uplifting her community and is a supporter of Black Lives, birth rights, and a believer of womxn everywhere. As a health care provider at a Black-owned and operated practice, Dr. Skanes is an avid participant in the movement to protect and celebrate Black lives and strongly believes that when Black women are protected, all women will be protected.

Dr. Skanes attended Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where she received her bachelor’s degree in African and African American Studies. She then studied maternal and child health at the University of Alabama School of Public Health for one year before pursuing medicine. She then earned her medical degree at Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio, and completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Skanes was given the honor of being named Chief Resident in her final year of residency.

Joycelyn Davis 

Descendant of Clotilda

Mobile, Alabama


Joycelyn Davis began her long career in education as a preschool teacher at Bishop State Community College and is currently employed as a paraprofessional at Saraland City Schools. A fierce advocate for children, Joycelyn believes in the power of community to create a safe and healthy environment in which children can thrive. 


 She is also actively involved in the community, devoted to her work with Africatown C.H.E.S.S (Clean, Healthy, Safe, Educated, Sustainable), an agency dedicated to the preservation and future prosperity of Africatown, and as an Advisory Board member of the Africatown Heritage Preservation Foundation. Joycelyn is also the co-founder and former Vice-President of the Clotilda Descendants Association and organizer of the Spirit of Our Ancestors Festival, a day set aside where descendants of the Clotilda celebrate their heritage. 


Today, she’s continuing to support community involvement with the “Keep Africatown Clean” campaign in partnership with Africatown Community Development Corporation and with her walking tours to keep the story of the community alive.


Joycelyn inspires others through her community work, reminding us all that we can be the change we wish to see in the world.

Karyn Parsons

Karyn Parsons is best known as the character “Hilary Banks” on the long-running television show “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.” Today, she is the founder of Sweet Blackberry, an award-winning series of children’s animated films and books sharing stories of unsung black heroes in history. The films feature narration from such notable talents as Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah, Chris Rock, and Laurence Fishburne. They have been screened on HBO and Netflix and are enjoyed by schools and libraries across the country. Karyn has also authored the Sweet Blackberry picture books Flying Free: How Bessie Coleman’s Dreams Took Flight and Saving The Day, which tells the story of how Garrett Morgan invented the traffic signal. Karyn’s debut novel, How High The Moon, was released in March 2019, her latest novel, Clouds Over California, hit bookshelves in July 2023, and Little, Brown recently acquired Parsons’ new novel, Blue Beach – her YA debut - and is scheduled for a summer 2025 release. 

Xaviera "Zay" Bell

Xaviera "Zay" Bell holds a Master of Science degree and is a certified Entrepreneurship and business coach, specializing in REBT (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy), CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), and Goal Setting coaching. With her charismatic and engaging personality, she is not only a sought-after coach but also a captivating public speaker.


Zay's expertise extends beyond the business world, as she has a deep passion for black maternal health and black infant mortality. As the Executive Director of Zeal of Xander, Inc., a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization, she has dedicated herself to making a difference in this critical area. The organization was born out of the heartbreaking loss of her son, Xander, who passed away at just under 22 weeks gestation. Through Zeal of Xander, Inc., Zay aims to provide support, resources, and education to families affected by infant loss and to advocate for improved black maternal health outcomes.


Zay's commitment to addressing the issue of black infant mortality led her to create The Mourning After: A Black Infant Mortality Anthology. This powerful anthology sheds light on the experiences, struggles, and resilience of black families who have faced the loss of their infants and the providers that stand in solidarity with them. By sharing these stories, Zay hopes to raise awareness and inspire change in the healthcare system.


In addition to her work with Zeal of Xander, Inc., Zay is also the visionary behind The Black Birth Institute, Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Florida. This organization focuses on empowering black women and families throughout their pregnancy and postpartum journey, providing culturally competent care, and advocating for equitable access to quality healthcare.


With her extensive knowledge, passion, and dedication, Zay is making a significant impact in the fields of entrepreneurship, black maternal health, and black infant mortality. Her coaching, public speaking, and nonprofit initiatives are all driven by her desire to create a world where every family has the support and resources they need to thrive.

Veronica Maria Pimentel, MD, MS, FACOG

The mothers shaped so much of what we know in obstetrics and gynecology. Yet, their names and history remained buried for far too long.  Betsey, Lucy and Anarcha were knowledgeable and skillful women who endured dehumanizing treatment.  They served as surgical nurses and learned to heal themselves and each other from the assault their bodies endured from both the surgical experimentation and the reproductive and forced manual work they performed. As obstetricians and gynecologists, we have the moral responsibility to learn from the wrongs of our past to provide equitable and respectful care for all today and tomorrow.  My vision has been for America to recognize the contributions of Anarcha, Betsey and Lucy to obstetrics and gynecology and to dedicate February 28 and March 1 to them.  These commemorative days, along with the monument, center the discussion on the women so we may never forget their sacrifices.

- Veronica Maria Pimentel, MD, MS, FACOG, obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in maternal-fetal medicine, visionary of Anarcha, Betsey and Lucy Days.  

Professor Deleso Alford

Professor Deleso A. Alford is a Shreveport, Louisiana native doing ground-breaking work bridging legal and medical education by telling stories—what she refers to as "HER stories"—the unique and particularized lived experiences of black women intersecting with health care and research. She has moved her scholarship into classrooms and the courtroom, benefiting law and medical students, society at large with her racially inflected lessons.  

Professor Alford earned a B.S., magna cum laude at Southern University A&M College, a J.D. at Southern University Law Center, and an LL.M. at Georgetown University Law Center. She has a Certification in Clinical Bioethics from the Medical College of Wisconsin.   

Deleso A. Alford, the Rachel Emanuel Endowed Professor is also serving as the director of the off-campus instructional site (OCIS) team facilitating the establishment of a pathway to legal education opportunities to the north Louisiana region, She was recently appointed as the Managing Fellow for the Southern University Law Center (SULC) Health Equity Law & Policy Institute.  

On March 14, 2023, SULC Health Equity Law & Policy Institute held its inaugural Henrietta Lacks Symposium: “Seeing Women Through the Lens of Genetic Justice, Reproductive Justice, and Criminal Justice.”  Professor Alford’s panel entitled, “Genetic Justice & Medical Racism Panel” featured Civil Rights Attorney Ben Crump and fellow panelists Kim Parker, Doug Rendleman, Yusuf Henriques, Caprice Roberts, and Robert Klonoff.

During the presentations, both Co-lead Counsel Ben Crump and Co-Counsel Robert Klonoff for the Lacks family's current litigation, Estate of Henrietta Lacks v. Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (US. Dist. MD) noted that Alford’s 2012 law review article, "HeLa Cells and Unjust Enrichment in the Human Body" published in the Annals of Health Law played a major role in the genesis and framing of the lawsuit. She also wrote an amicus brief in the above-referenced case. 


I am a journalist, author, editor, novelist and educator.


I am a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine, where I cover race, inequality and health. My 2018 cover story, "Why America's Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis," was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. My 2017 article, "America's Hidden HIV Epidemic," won a National Lesbian and Gay Journalists' award for Excellence in Journalism. That organization inducted me into its Hall of Fame in 2020. My essay on medical myths was included in the New York Times's 1619 Project in August 2019 and is published in the 1619 Project Book which came out in November 2021. I covered the toll covid-19 has taken on black communities in America and the environmental justice movement in Philadelphia in 2020 and wrote about life expectancy in Chicago in 2021. My article on eugenics, a reported excerpt from my book, was published in June 2022. 


For several years, I edited the health pages for the New York Times, working on health coverage for Science Times and for the newspaper at large. I was also the executive editor of Essence Magazine—two different times–where I wrote or edited a number of award-winning articles that I am extremely proud of.​


I have won lots of awards from organizations, including The American Medical Writers’ Association, The Arthur Ashe Institute, Lincoln University, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists’ Association and the Callen-Lorde Community Health Center.


I am the author or co-author of three books, including Body & Soul: The Black Women’s Guide to Physical Health and Emotional Well-Being. My first (and only) novel, Passing for Black, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. My book, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation was published in June 2022 by Doubleday.


A graduate of the University of Colorado, I also spent a year at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as a journalism fellow. I went back to school several years ago and graduated with a master’s degree in urban journalism/digital storytelling in 2013 from CUNY's Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. 

Hakima Tafunzi Payne

Hakima Tafunzi Payne, known to her community as Mama Hakima, is the founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Uzazi Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating health outcome disparities in perinatal health in African-American communities. She holds a Bachelors in Nursing and a Masters in Nursing Education and is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing Education. Ms. Payne is the creator of the following seven models of Afro-Centric healthcare:

*         Village Doula Program (a community-based home visiting program for pregnant individuals)
*         Chocolate Milk Café, (a peer to peer breastfeeding support group for Black families)
*         The Village Circle Approach, an Afro-centric group prenatal care model
*         The Lactation Mentorship Program (IBCLC internship for Black candidates)
*         Perinatal Doula Training (full spectrum community-based doula training)
*         Culturally Congruent Care in a Community Setting (antiracism healthcare curriculum)
*         Community Expert Review Board (community-based advocacy for research and policy)

Ms. Payne speaks nationally on the topic of Black perinatal health and community-based responses to health inequities. Ms. Payne works tirelessly to make birth safer, the village healthier, and to promote anti-racist care models.  She is the subject of an upcoming documentary, “Mama Hakima”. Ms. Payne is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri.

Dr. lee sharma

Dr. Lee Sharma is a gynecologist who has been in private practice in Auburn, Alabama since 1997.  She holds a Master’s degree in Conflict Resolution and is on the clinical faculty of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) in Auburn. Dr. Sharma has worked for over thirty years as an advocate for patients through local, state, and national medical organizations. Her husband, also a physician, and children, chemical engineer/bartender and second-year law student, have been her greatest cheerleaders.  Dr. Sharma continues her work in health policy, advocacy and conflict management and is passionate about sowing peace in every medical arena. 


What are the conference dates?
+ February 27 - March 1, 2024

Which airport should I fly into?
+ Montgomery Regional Airport (MGM) (Montgomery, AL)
+ Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) (Atlanta, GA)

How do I get from the airport to the hotel?
Uber or taxi.

What is the address of the Mothers of Gynecology Monument?
+ 17 Mildred Street, Montgomery, AL

I have more questions, who can I email?
Please reach out to us here:

Change/Cancellation Policy
All cancellations or changes must be received in writing by Thursday, February 1, 2024. Cancellations received by this date will receive a full refund less a 20% processing fee. No refunds will be made for cancellations received after February 1, 2024.

bottom of page