the AMERICAN dream [Online]

This film screened through NWFF
May 27–31, 2020
but is available on YouTube from the filmmaker!

BLACK LIVES MATTER. In recognition of the importance of the current moment, NWFF is donating ALL PROCEEDS from this film screening to benefit Rainier Valley Community Clinic. Learn more about this initiative here or donate directly to RVCC.

Paolo Patruno


** For this film, Northwest Film Forum recorded a conversation between UW Bothell students and RVCC Executive Director and Co-founder Tara Lawal, Lead Student Midwife Latonia Westerfield, Doula, Student Midwife, and RVCC Birth Assistant Mercedes Snyder, and Homebirth/Midwifery Consumer and Advocate Amelia Carmona-Fesili, and The Birth Place Founder, CEO & Clinical Director Jennie Joseph. **


The World Health Assembly designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife

In partnership with UW Bothell and Rainier Valley Community Clinic, we’re hosting an online screening of this documentary resource for families and all women regardless of their race or beliefs about birthing. It will be accompanied by a panel discussion with RVCC midwives, doulas, and clinicians to demystify home birth and natural forms of pain management for families, particularly during the pandemic. Our hope is to empower women to trust that they are capable of giving birth on their terms, in the comfort of their homes.


For too long America has failed to acknowledge the outrageous and seemingly intractable rates of poor maternal health and deaths of mothers in childbirth. The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized country in the world. More than two women die every day in the US from pregnancy-related causes. And while the vast majority of countries have reduced their maternal mortality ratios, for the past 25 years the numbers of women lost during pregnancy, birth or postpartum have increased dramatically in the US.

African-American women in the US are at especially high risk; they are nearly 4 times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications compared to European American. Women of color are less likely to go into pregnancy in good health because of a lack of access to primary health care services. They are also less likely to have access to adequate maternal health care services. Black women are by far the largest demographic to suffer these outcomes. It has been this way for decades, and yet they are seldom able to make their voices heard.

The women in this documentary tell their own stories: they know what is wrong. They share their hopes and fears, and they share about their American dream, as it relates to maternal health in the US.

It’s time for change. It’s time to listen.

Credit for all photos relating to the AMERICAN dream: Paolo Patruno.

the AMERICAN dream is available to watch for free on the filmmaker’s YouTube channel!

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Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave,

Seattle, WA 98122

206 329 2629

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