Raising Awareness of Systemic Racism in Healthcare, a Stork Embarks on an ‘Impossible Journey’

The timeless tale of the stork delivering babies is, like many myths, difficult to trace to a single source, as the story unfolds in folklore throughout Europe, the Americas, North Africa, and the Middle East. In the short film “Impossible Journey” —directed by YUCA and produced by The Youth Company and Colossal (no affiliation)—the creature’s vital mission sets the scene for a critical and poignant message.

When one determined stork takes off from the Tree of Life, we follow it and its precious cargo through heavy weather and around a spewing volcano before eventually landing inside a modern maternity ward. A beautiful newborn is unfurled from a cloth, and as the scene pans out, we learn the child is the only Black baby in the room. The exhausted bird sheds a tear, and the child grasps for a single, falling feather.

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“The C-section is where they lock our partners, our wives, at,” a male voice says as the animation cuts to a room of people seated in a circle. “A place of anxiety, where you wait, and wait, and wait, and wait for someone to be there. But that someone never comes. No one ever comes. An unprivileged area to punish us for a capital sin: being born with the Black color of our skin.”


a still from a short animated film showing storks carrying sacks in their beaks

All images © Aster and Ashé Birthing Services

Impossible Journey” is dedicated to the memory of Amber Rose Isaac, a young Black woman who lost her life due to hospital negligence during a difficult birth. “Maternity is a beautiful yet unequal journey,” reads overlaid text, sharing the stark statistic that Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes. The film highlights the importance of making healthcare safer and more accessible, highlighting the work of Black women-founded and Black-led organizations dedicated to crucial birthing and reproductive justice.

A keystone of the project is its focus on the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, a proposed law comprising 13 bills with the aim of addressing systemic racism in healthcare. The bills include making investments to improve social health determinants, such as housing and nutrition; expanding the maternal health workforce; improving data collection and quality measures; and funding preventive care and support services for Black families.

“Impossible Journey” is the winner of two Silver Cannes Lions awards in 2024 for both film and digital craft. Find more on the project’s website, where you can listen to more true stories that went into the making of the film and find more information about the Momnibus Act.


a still from a short animated film showing rows of babies in a maternity ward

a gif from an animated film showing a stork swooping through a storm to save a sack it dropped

a still from a short animated film showing a stork delivering a Black baby into a maternity ward

Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member today and support independent arts publishing for as little as $5 per month. The article Raising Awareness of Systemic Racism in Healthcare, a Stork Embarks on an ‘Impossible Journey’ appeared first on Colossal.

Source: thisiscolossal.com

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