BK artist chosen for project surrounding black maternal health in the Bronx

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THE BRONX -

An artist is teaming up with the Department of Health to help take on the issue of black maternal mortality.

Taja Lindley is an artist and activist, who says she is ready to merge both her worlds and passions together in the Bronx.

“I think it's really important to root policy and systemic change in people's personal experiences,” says Lindley.

The Brooklyn resident was chosen to be the artist to collaborate with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene through the public arts in residence program at the Tremont Neighborhood Health Action Center, focusing on black maternal health specifically.

“We want to make sure people understand it's not just connected to genetics and biology, we're talking about a social and economic inequity that leads to the health inequalities that we see,” says Dr. Torian Easterling, of the Center for Heath Equity at the DOHAMH.

For Black Maternal Health Week earlier this month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted out the statistic that black women are four times more likely to die during child birth than white women. 

Lindley worked as a sexual and reproductive justice consultant at the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene before the residency.

For the next three months, she'll speak with pregnant or parenting women in the Bronx, listening to their stories and experiences, before starting the creative project for the following nine months. 

The program is also in partnership with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

“This work is not just about artwork that's produced, but how are we using creative practices to address longstanding problems,” says Lindley.

Lindley hopes to spark a change, not just for black women in the Bronx, but in New York City and beyond.

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