Who is the womyn with a mission to let them flourish?
Founder of Letthemflourish, Etecia Brown, is a Full Spectrum Doula, Queer Reproductive Health & Fertility Coach, Herbal Apprentice, artist and community organizer who facilitates workshops locally and globally. Etecia is both a mentor and student. As a 4th generation San Francisco resident of Bayview Hunter’s Point she has dedicated her career to empowering the under-served to help them in their path to becoming leaders and healers. Bayview Hunter’s Point is a historically Black community where many Black people migrated during the Great Migration period of the early 1940's searching for the warmth of other suns. These Black folk, including Etecia's great grandparents, worked in the old Navy Shipyard and industrial factories in the neighborhood. Today, Bayview Hunter’s Point is home to a federally designated superfund site, over 25 underground petroleum storage tanks, a sewage treatment plant, and more than 100 Brownfield sites; giving this neighborhood some of the highest rates of cancer, asthma, and Black infant mortality rates in the Bay Area. Environmental racism and socioeconomic inequities in Bayview Hunter’s Point has directly impacted Etecia’s family health history. After several family members passed from cancer, Etecia began to think critically about the intersectional ways that racism, disparities in health, intergenerational trauma, and lack of access has impacted her community. She has always depended on her ancestors as a source of strength and guidance. Etecia firmly believes that through radicalizing the ways in which we care for our community and ourselves Indigenous, Black, and Brown people, will not only survive, but flourish.
Addressing Disparities In Public Health
In 2003 Etecia began volunteering with two community based organizations based in Oakland and San Francisco to help organize health fairs which gave marginalized communities of color access to mammograms, blood pressure and diabetes checks. Later in 2009 while in undergraduate school, Etecia became the Site Director of Farms to Grow Inc., a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California that has established a long-term commitment to helping small Black farmers grow their franchise in a sustainable organic way as well as combat hunger and advocate for food justice in marginalized communities. In 2013 Etecia graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from St. Mary’s College of California. Etecia has over a decade of experience developing and managing community based non-profits, public health organizations, and academic institutions. Etecia is currently the Population Health Program Manager at the San Francisco Health Plan, monitoring the provision of health care services and quality improvement within SFHP. She’s led a number of workshops and panels including racism and homelessness in SF, POC childbirth workshops, ending gun violence, economic justice, social and global change making, and many others. Etecia also sits on committees and boards in San Francisco and at University of California San Francisco addressing reproductive justice, the UCSF Helen Diller Cancer Center, and others.
Etecia has significant research experience, specializing in qualitative in research relating to health disparities in communities of color. Using a feminist epistemology approach, Etecia brings a foundational understanding of social equity to her role, built through work as a community organizer. Most recently Etecia worked with the Center for Community Engagement at UCSF on a project designed to improve the health and wellness of San Franciscans and particularly those from marginalized communities.
After the non-indictment of the officers who murdered Mike Brown Jr. on December 13th 2014 Etecia organized Millions March San Francisco and Millions March Oakland surged by the glaring need for a peaceful healing space for the Black community to gather and express their grief during this "Black Lives Matter Movement”. Etecia's vision for these marches was to provide a peaceful space for the community to come with their family. 3,000 people attended the march in San Francisco and 5,000 people attended the march in Oakland. This march became the catalyst to reignite collaborative organizing efforts in the Bay Area. Etecia has had the honor of being recognized nationally for her community work, being featured on NPR, Al Jazeera, and others. In 2015, she was also featured in San Francisco Magazine in a spread called, “Saluting 37 Leaders of Social Change”. Etecia Brown is apart of an organizing coalition called the #Last3percent. These organizers are San Francisco native residents of the Bayview who formed a coalition to demand justice for Mario Woods, the young Black man who was shot by SFPD in November of 2015. The Last 3 Percent of Black San Francisco has expanded their organizing efforts to advocating for the reallocation of resources and power to underserved communities of color in San Francisco.
Understanding the urgent need to bring more young people together around issues of racial inequity, in 2015 Etecia co-founded the Black Love Festival. This festival was a free community event designed to promote love as a form of radical transformation and healing in the Bayview. Then, on July 16th 2016 Etecia gathered the Bay Area together again for Tribe City Fest, to address the need for the community to come together using collective efficacy as a form of liberation. The festival featured local Black and Brown artist, musicians, filmmakers, and craft and food vendors. Etecia's goal in her artivism work is to create more spaces for Black artistic expression and to reach a wider range of people who may be currently unplugged from the movement for Black liberation. Black Joy is revolutionary.
Etecia has curated a life centered around social justice. Her current work as a reproductive justice advocate has helped her to reimagine the health care system. Her intentions are to decolonize birthing in the U.S. as well as empower Birthers to stand in their power as Creators. Understanding the indigenous technologies of mothering is key for any society to flourish. Etecia believes these tools have to be holistically retaught in marginalized communities. Etecia is currently studying traditional West African healing practices and Western herbalism. She launched an organic boutique tea line as apart of the Letthemflourish brand February 28th 2017. It is Etecia's primary goal to share these natural methods for replenishing the spirit and nourishing the body with her community. In addition to being a healer, Etecia is in the process of raising funds to open a holistic health center and birthing temple in Bayview Hunter’s Point dedicated to preserving and utilizing culture as a form of healing. In a constant process of sharpening her skills and develop the tools necessary to create a sustainable transformative ecosystem she plans to address the healthcare needs of her community and communities similar to hers across the country and worldwide.