Human Milk is a Human Right, in California and Around the Globe

November 27, 2023

By Jasmine Pettis Marquez
California Breastfeeding Coalition

As I was beginning my new role as Executive Director of the California Breastfeeding Coalition this summer, I met with a variety of existing and new partners and stakeholders.

My goal was to get a sense of what they thought about the coalition, and to gain a deeper understanding of how others viewed the CBC and its history.

What continued to come up during these conversations was a need to clearly state who the CBC serves and how we work. 

This got me thinking.

We’ve been protecting, promoting and supporting lactation throughout California long enough to have developed strong relationships with public health departments, elected officials, mission-aligned agencies, local coalitions and providers. But what about the organizations we’ve yet to meet, or those who don’t even know a statewide coalition focused on lactation exists?

We needed an explanation of our purpose and our priorities written in simple language that anyone from any industry could understand. The team and I put our heads together, and this is what we came up to describe the California Breastfeeding Coalition:

We advance our purpose of building the capacity of local and cultural breastfeeding coalitions in California, enhancing their ability to serve their communities, ensuring that every parent and child benefits from lactation and human milk. 

We achieve this by providing evidence-based education, fostering partnerships, and supporting birthing hospitals. 

Our work spans across coalitions, workplaces, and hospitals throughout California, delivering educational programs, professional services, and fostering collaborative partnerships. 

Leveraging our deep expertise in California and federal family and lactation legislation, we tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of each region. 

Our sustainability is rooted through diverse funding: restricted and unrestricted multi-year/long-term funding from public, private and individual supporters with aligned values.

Five simple, powerful statements that sum up our commitment to ending breastfeeding deserts by building the capacity of local coalitions, how we achieve our goals, and what we’re doing to make sure the CBC is making permanent change to California’s infant-feeding landscape for decades to come.

Today, along with our board of directors, I’m asking you to directly support our sustainability by making a financial gift to our Human Milk is a Human Right campaign.

We believe that families should have equitable access to culturally appropriate, commercial-free lactation information, quality care and support and access to donor human milk when needed. 

But to make that belief a reality, we must invest time and resources. While powerful, advocacy is labor intensive. And for us to continue doing the work you’ve come to rely on, we need funding.

Private donations are what give nonprofits like ours capacity and influence to effect change in the state.

While I’m asking for your support, our board members are reaching out to their networks as well. Together, I believe we can make lasting change for generations to come.

Jasmine Pettis Marquez is the Executive Director of the California Breastfeeding Coalition (CBC). She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with years of practice in and around the Bay Area. Jasmine is also the author and illustrator of Breastfeeding All Around the Bay, a children’s book published in 2020 with the aim of adding much-needed character diversity and breastfeeding to children’s literature. She holds a bachelor’s degree in health science with an emphasis on community outreach and education from Sacramento State and a Master’s of Public Health from San Jose State.