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Where radical self-care is prescribed, trauma exists. This is why doula and educator Erica Chidi provides necessary tools for Black women to heal and reclaim control over their health. "We hold trauma in our reproductive organs and abdominal area," she says. "Becoming closer to understanding how it works — whether it's around your period or as it relates to birth control, fertility, or sex — is an extension to our power and extension to our care."
In a rare, exhaustive process, Chidi raised $3 million in venture capital to build LOOM, a digital online learning platform — created from front-end to back-end by women — that empowers female-identifying and non-binary persons through education about reproductive wellness and justice. The co-founder and CEO began her mission to educate and support women around everything from pregnancy to sexual pleasure in a Los Angeles-based brick-and-mortar center in 2016. And thanks to Chidi’s serious fundraising chops, at the top of 2021, LOOM will arm an even more significant number of women with access to resources to put their sexual and reproductive wellbeing back into their hands.
A group of Black women in 1994 established the framework for reproductive justice to counteract reproductive rights centered around white women and contraceptives. The collective also called out the systemic inequalities that shape how a woman decides her reproductive care. And in many ways, Erica Chidi continues her work upon the foundation those women laid.
Nearly three decades later, Black women are still at constant war over our bodies, making our desire to educate ourselves about our bodies a form of activism. Thus, an educational platform like LOOM greatly reinforces our acts toward social change.
"I started to realize through my work that there are areas in places that we can make a change and so much of it has to do with the lack of education around our health, around our bodies. It's really disabling," Chidi says. "But because we already do so much in the world, learning about our bodies is a gift to ourselves. At the same time, it's still leaning towards liberation."
Amidst the current pandemic's crippling effects and the shadow of a racist administration (hopefully, not for much longer), Black women need and deserve additional ways to survive the healthcare system, nourish our bodies, and discover safe solutions that suit every individual. As Chidi preps the launch of LOOM's online hub, she's no doubt cultivating a new beautiful coalition of Black women, giving new meaning to the power of the pussy.
Black Is The New Black is Refinery29’s celebration of Black women who are changing the game. Black women who are reminding the world that we are not a trend or “a moment.” We’re here — and we’ve been here. Check out the full list.