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Prospect Park Candle Vigil Aims to Shed Light on Maternal Mortality

More than 3,000 women experience life-threatening complications during childbirth in New York City every year.
Maternal mortality, BK Reader
Photo credit: NY Trend

Mimsi International, a nonprofit that delivers life-saving prenatal healthcare to women in Haiti, will host a Mother's Day Eve Pink Candlelight Vigil in Prospect Park to raise awareness around global maternal mortality rates, especially in Haiti and the United States.

The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and expectant mothers, especially women of color and ethnicity, face many unknown dangers in childbirth. 

In New York City, according to city data, more than 3,000 women experience life-threatening complications during childbirth, and about 30 women die from a pregnancy-related cause each year. Black non-Hispanic women are thereby eight times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than White women, much higher than the national average. In Haiti, pregnancy is the most common cause of injury and death for women.

"A lot of progress has been made. We've reduced the maternal mortality rate from 1 in 83 women dying to 1 in 1300 in Haiti," said Winfred Tovar, founder of Mimsi International. "But there is still so much work for us to do —both in the U.S. and in Haiti." 

Tovar, an obstetrician and gynecologist specializing in high-risk obstetrics, founded Mimsi International in 2014. The organization offers training and jobs to women in Haiti, who then provide cost-effective, sustainable pregnancy care to the neediest women in rural villages.

Brooklynites attending the vigil will hear testimonials from families who have experienced maternal loss, partake in a candlelight vigil walk, enjoy music by Carlo Balthazar and snacks from local Haitian restaurants. Attendees can also support Mimsi's mission by purchasing an LED pink magenta candle as "a symbol to guide mothers around the globe to safety," Tovar said.

"My hope is that expectant mothers will hang these candles in their hospital rooms to show support for women who don't have that luxury," he said. "I think lighting a candle is a really simple and beautiful way to show that you care." 

Mother's Day Eve Pink Candlelight Vigil

When: Saturday, May 11, 5:00pm - 7:00pm

Where: Concert Grove, Prospect Park, 95 Prospect Park West

Please RSVP on Mimsi's Eventbrite or Facebook event page.