Today, March for Moms, a leading national advocacy organization dedicated to ending the nation’s maternal health crisis, has named Laneceya Russ its Executive Director. Russ, a Louisiana-based women’s health advocate, brings a decade of community-driven advocacy to the organization as it continues to advance Federal and State policy that expands and extends Medicaid coverage for pregnant and birthing people, advocates for greater access to new models of care for mothers, and prepares for it’s 5th annual mobilization this spring.
“We are thrilled to have Laneceya at the helm of March for Moms as the movement for maternal health is at a tipping point. Her experience will be critical to ensuring that Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples, who suffer most from poor maternal health outcomes, are at the center of policy change. Laneceya’s passion and authenticity is evident from the first moment you meet her, and we are confident her passion will lead with determined purpose,” said Ginger Breedlove, co-founder of March for Moms.
“As a Black woman with underlying conditions who desires to conceive a child, it has been one of my biggest fears and anxieties that both my child and I won’t make it during childbirth,” said Russ. “Far too often, we are seeing women of color dying during or after childbirth from complications that could have been prevented. I do not want myself or any another woman to become a statistic of the high maternal death rate that we have in the United States.”
Prior to leading March for Moms, Russ was the Advocacy Director for Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR®), located in Baton Rouge, LA. There she oversaw the organization’s advocacy program in the capital area and provided direct services to sexual trauma survivors. She has worked closely with hospital systems, criminal justice professionals, community-based organizations, and local and state officials to train, raise awareness and advocate for the needs of sexual trauma survivors throughout her time at STAR®.
“In the five years since the first March for Moms on the National Mall, this organization and its incredible partners and allies have made notable progress. Today, the Black maternal health crisis is top of mind for lawmakers nationwide, and the Momnibus, led by Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, is a comprehensive legislative solution that would improve the lives of millions of families nationwide. I’m eager to work with our partners to ensure that this policy becomes law,” said Russ.
Passionate about serving her community, Russ volunteers at the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition as a mentor and participates in the Community Advisory Board for Open Health Care Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center. She was also recently appointed to the Louisiana State Crime Victims Reparations Board in 2020.
The United States spends more on childbirth than any other country in the world and has the worst outcomes of any high-resource nation, particularly for Black and Indigenous people. In the midst of the overlapping crises of systemic racism and COVID-19, there is a continued urgent need for respectful care and accountability so that everyone has access to the quality, equitable, and respectful maternity care they need.