Black Infant Mortality Awareness Walk

Join us as we walk on September 21, 2019 from Truman Medical Center or Research Medical Center to Uzazi Village

Thank you for joining us as we walk from Truman Medical Center or Research Medical Center to Uzazi Village  to raise awareness about Black Infant Mortality in Kansas City and nation-wide. CEO, Hakima Tafunzi Payne, will deliver a Mayoral Proclamation in order to raise awareness and support policies aimed at reducing infant mortality in the African-American community.

Participants have the option to walk from either Truman Medical Center or Research Medical Center to Uzazi Village where we will enjoy family fun activities and lunch.  Each route is approximately 3 miles and will take up to 2 hours.

 Our Anticipated Walk Route


Suggested donation amounts:


Any amount

All donations are appreciated

Register to walk

Please choose your route starting point (Truman Medical Center or Research Medical Center) and T-shirt size:

Black Infant Mortality

The Walk for Black Infant Mortality started in Missouri to bring awareness to the issue of Black infant mortality in our community. Black infants are twice as likely to die prior to their first birthday than their White counterparts. The reasons for this tragic health inequity are varied and complex, but many deaths are preventable. Prematurity and low birth weight are the leading causes of infant death in the African- American community. 


Join our Facebook page to find educational opportunities and information on infant mortalities, its causes, and how to prevent it.


Infant Mortality Rates measure the risk of dying during the first year of life

Healthy People 2020 IMR (target goal)                  6.0/1000 live births

National IMR (2005, CDC)                                      6.7/1000 live births

Missouri IMR (2008 data)                                        7.2/1000 live births

Kansas City IMR (2008 data)                                  8.2/1000 live births

2018 Walk dates

TBA soon!

Uzazi Village will be walking with our Board, Perinatal Community Health Workers/Sister Doulas, and community members to raise awareness of the Black Infant Mortality crisis both nationally and locally.

Please contact Sherry at for more information or with questions. 

Last year I grew increasingly frustrated by the steady increase in the US infant mortality rate. I was in my car one day listening to the radio, when a young man named Alex Sheen spoke about an organization he started called, “Because I said I would”. Alex talked about his deceased father and that what he felt was most remarkable about him, was that he always kept his word. Alex himself decided to make a commitment to walk across his state of Ohio to raise funds for the three women who had been imprisoned for 10 years by their abductor. The thought hit me like a ton of bricks- I’ll walk across my state and talk to people about Black Infant Mortality. I planned that first walk for nine months. I needed to get in shape for a long range walk and created a plan for building up my endurance by walking daily and increasing the distance over time. I started to tell people what I was planning and the word started to spread. So many folks from so many walks of life came out to support me in one way or another. Some gave money, some let me and my support team stay in their homes, some came from other states to walk with me, some prayed and held sacred space for my mission. That first walk was amazing, despite ending prematurely due to the wreck of our support vehicle. It was an amazing experience, and because of the radio shows, newspaper articles, public presentations, and social media marketing, the word did get out about Black Infant Mortality. I did what I said I would. This year, I’d like to do it again.

We want to increase awareness of the problem. Black infant mortality is a ‘silent epidemic.’   Even families affected by it don’t realize that this is a systemic problem and that their babies are more at risk. We want to bring attention to this issue so that not only will affected communities have greater awareness, but so that our healthcare system and governmental agencies will put more resources toward solutions and interventions. Our awareness campaign is aimed at increasing awareness in the general public as well as the healthcare, education, legislative, and consumer advocacy communities.

In 2016 Uzazi Village founders, board members, Sister Doulas, staff and volunteers will walk from Truman Medical Center to Uzazi Village and continue on to Research Medical Center. The walk is approximately 10K and will take 3 hours.

Thank you for supporting us as we walk from Truman Medical Center to Uzazi Village and continue on to Research Medical Center to raise awareness about Black Infant Mortality in Kansas City and nation-wide.

  • 2016 events TBA
To donate, please click below. A bracelet, pictured to the left, will be sent to every donor.


26 Ways in 26 Days to Honor

Black Infant Mortality Awareness

  1. Join Sherry Payne in Mid Missouri as she walks for Black Infant Mortality Awareness and takes a message to her legislators.
  2. Host your own Black Infant Mortality Awareness Walk, around a local park, or school, or house of worship. Bring together folks to walk, talk, and commemorate the loss of infant life in our community.
  3. Write a letter to the editor during the month of September about Black infant mortality and the disparities in health outcomes.
  4. Host a meeting at your school, home or house of worship to discuss pregnancy health and what you can do in your immediate community to support healthy pregnancies for women of color. Identify and address barriers to care.
  5. Make a donation to a local organization that addresses Black infant mortality. Don’t have one locally? Donate to Uzazi Village or National Perinatal Taskforce.
  6. Make a short video about why Black Infant Mortality Awareness is important- then post it to your favorite media outlet.
  7. Send a letter to your state legislators making them aware of this issue- too many don’t about the disparities in infant losses or its impact on communities of color.
  8. Host a candlelight gathering for those in the community who have lost infants. Allow them to share their stories with the community.
  9. Write your own story of infant loss and share it on the Black Infant Mortality Awareness Facebook page.
  10. Change your profile picture to our logo for the month of September.
  11. September is National Infant Mortality Month. Spread the word.
  12. Create a brief PowerPoint presentation on Black Infant Mortality and share it at work or school or your house of worship.
  13. Host a diaper drive and donate them to a local agency that works with low income pregnant women.
  14. Crafty? Make small scrap books that can be used by families who have lost infants to put their hospital memorabilia in (a set a footprints, a lock of hair etc.) Donate them to a local maternity hospital.
  15. Crochet or knit baby blankets for donation to a local hospital, that can be given to families who have lost babies as a keepsake. (They can wrap their baby in it at the hospital, then take it home with them.)
  16. Plant a small memorial garden for lost infants. Invite others to enjoy it-include a remembrance bench for reflection and contemplation.
  17. Host a memorial service for families who have lost infants at your local house of worship.
  18. Have a Balloon Release in a local park where families can gather, release a balloon for their lost infant, and perhaps a picnic afterwards.
  19. Plant a tree or bush in honor of an infant that was lost.
  20. Plan for a guest speaker to come to your city sometime during the coming year to address Black Infant Mortality.
  21. Prepare a meal for a family enjoying a new baby to celebrate life and health in our community.
  22. Designate a Perinatal Safe Spot in your community.
  23. Donate your excess breastmilk to infants in need whether through a milk bank or milk sharing with other mothers.
  24. Write a post about Black Infant Mortality Awareness on your social media page and invite discussion and inquiry.
  25. Read and learn what you can about the causes of Black Infant Mortality. (see our resource list)
  26. Share the Black Infant Mortality Facebook Page with others to spread the word.

For more information about Black Infant Mortality Awareness, log onto and find Black Infant Mortality Awareness Walk on Facebook

For more ideas, use the National Healthy Start Association, Infant Mortality Awareness Toolkit.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Mariah Chrans 913-486-8568

Date: August 31, 2015


Press Release

Nurse Walks to Bring Attention to Black Infant Mortality

Kansas City, MO. Last year, Sherry Payne RN set off to walk across the state of Missouri to bring attention to a silent epidemic: Black Infant Mortality. Across the US, the death rates for Black infants prior to their first birthday, is 2-4 times higher than the White infant death rate. Nurse Payne takes aim at the reasons behind these disturbing figures, by walking and talking to communities that are directly and indirectly impacted.

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, and to garner greater awareness of the problem, Nurse Payne is walking again, this time 28 miles from Columbia MO to Jefferson City, MO, on the Katy Trail to again bring her message to MO legislators, educators, healthcare providers, and community advocates. She plans to walk September 26-27 and will be available to speak to audience throughout the state the following week on the topic of Black Infant Mortality. According to the March of Dimes, prematurity and low birth weight are key reasons behind the difference in infant loss rates. Lower rates of breastfeeding, racism and poverty also adversely impact African American infants.

Find out more information about Black Infant Mortality Awareness at or contact Mariah at