We had the good fortune of connecting with Marpessa Allen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marpessa, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
As a mom going through all the motherhood seasons, I realized that my priority is family. Spending time with my family and working on something I was truly passionate about made me consider owning my own business. I knew the obstacles Black mothers face but wanted to focus on prenatal, post-partum and maternal mental health issues.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In my profession I am a Doula and Family Advocacy consultant. My professional journey has given me the opportunity to advocate on behalf of Black mothers and babies on a micro and macro level. Many people don’t know that Black mothers die four times more than White mothers in Colorado, this also includes the baby’s livelihood. This is what prompted me to join the fight to elevate the conversation about racism in Public Health. In addition to serving Black parents; I’ve had the honor to advise legislative leaders. I was on staff on the U.S. Senate campaign for the now U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper. While working on his Presidential and Senate campaigns; I also wrote a documentary about my experience as a Black mother in Colorado. We are close to finishing the project and started raising money to wrap it up. It has intentionally been a community effort. The series will air on public television this year. My vision is to inform and be transparent that I am not immune to mistreatment in the medical space. The second fundraising initiative that I am very excited about is in the development of a Doula Apprenticeship integrated in a safety net clinic in Aurora, my hometown. I’ve also served as a co-chair with Children’s Hospital on the Black Health initiative also in Aurora. Our mission is to genuinely provide quality care for Black mothers and babies. It’s doable and it benefits the community as a whole if we do right by Black families. The challenge is to normalize Black Doulas and Midwives. It’s unfortunate that our profession and the hospital system can many times be at odds. With COVID it has been even harder. Black mothers need more birth options such as home birth and birth center education, and empowerment to find providers they can trust. My brand is unique because I bring my whole self to the table. This is a lifestyle for me. My phone rings non-stop with mothers, doulas, and birth justice advocates. My favorite thing that I love is home visits and HOLDING BABIES!! I am millennial infused social justice advocate. Not only am I a community connector, but I’m also comfortable being a disruptor. I embrace both hats and I hope to inspire other Black women to speak their own truth about their birth, abortion, miscarriage stories as well as their overall parenting decisions.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love to visit the State Capitol and tour it from top to bottom. I like to go to eat at the Nile Ethiopian restaurant in Aurora. The 16th Street is beautiful at night. I like to have drinks at the Art hotel. Spring Fling is the best cake at The Market on Larimer. Little India’s has a nice & quaint lunch buffet. I like to go to Boulder to go to your Celestial Seasons, Pearl Street, and Chautauqua Park, and CU Boulder campus.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to shout out Maisha Fields and Amanda Meyer. Both women have worked closely with me to propel and push me to greatness. Maisha has taught me to be fierce and fearless in policy spaces in particular. Amanda has been my pre-production comrade. We meet 2-3 times a week at 7:30am to fine tune my story. She is the best listener I know! I dedicate this article to them.
Briana Pacheco Photography Joseph Camp David Ladon