As we celebrate International Day for Maternal Health and Rights, the documentary The American Dream shares varied maternity experiences in Black women’s own voices.
The American Dream is part of the Birth is a Dream documentary project created in 2011 by Italian filmmaker Paolo Patruno to bring attention to untold maternity stories across the world. The film encourages viewers to consider a more positive future for Black maternal health even as it shares the startling and shocking reality of the disproportionately high rates of maternal death in the Black community.
On documenting maternity experiences of African women (99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries) and of Black women in the United States, Patruno says, “I found many more similarities than differences. Maternal health is not just medical; it is a cultural and social matter [on both sides of the Atlantic]. It is mainly a story of social issues, of race, and of women’s empowerment.”