How Lawler Queen Owned and Operated Community Birth Center

How Lawler Queen Owned and Operated Community Birth Center, the First Black-Owned Birthing Center in Los Angeles

Breaking Barriers in Maternal Healthcare

Racha Tahani Lawler Queen, a trailblazing fourth-generation midwife, made history by opening the first Black-owned birthing center in Los Angeles, known as the Community Birth Center.

This pioneering establishment was a testament to Lawler Queen’s unwavering commitment to providing culturally competent and empowering maternal care for diverse communities.

“It’s meant to feel like a place where people see themselves, they feel seen, they feel safe,” Lawler Queen emphasized, underscoring the importance of creating a welcoming and affirming environment for expectant families.

Answering the Call for Representation

Lawler Queen’s journey to entrepreneurship was fueled by a profound realization – the lack of representation and support for Black families in the birthing experience. “I got on a Zoom call with Black birth workers in RVA, and they were just telling me about what they were facing in regards to the lack of representation in birth, especially out of hospital birth,” she recalled.

Driven by a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by marginalized communities, Lawler Queen was determined to establish a safe haven where families could embrace their identities and cultural traditions without fear or unnecessary interventions.

A Legacy of Midwifery and Ancestral Wisdom

Deeply rooted in her family’s legacy of midwifery, Lawler Queen drew inspiration from generations of ancestral knowledge and spiritual practices. “Midwifery and spiritual practices are one in the same outside the U.S.,” she explained. “It is not uncommon for a midwife to ask spirit, ask ancestors to protect the pregnancy, to protect the birth, to protect the midwife … It’s all very much intertwined.”

By weaving together traditional wisdom and modern healthcare practices, Lawler Queen created a birthing experience that empowered families and celebrated their cultural heritage.

A Community-Driven Vision

The establishment of the Community Birth Center was a collaborative effort, fueled by the unwavering support of the local community. Through crowdfunding and donations of art, toys, and diapers, Lawler Queen raised over $30,000, enabling her to bring her vision to life.

“It really gives them even more power and a greater voice and provides them an opportunity without fear to birth in freedom to give birth in a way that affirms them and their family and how they want to move forward after they have this baby,” she said, reflecting on the profound impact of her work.