Forget grim statistics. The latest call for lowering the rate at which babies die before their first birthday comes in the form of a butterfly — a symbol of change.
For too long, the rates that black infants die before marking the first year have been double or triple that of white and Hispanic infants. Most of the recent improvement in the Volusia and Flagler area’s rate of infant mortality comes from improved outcomes for whites, according to state Health Department statistics.
In the coming weeks, though, Healthy Start of Flagler and Volusia Counties will be showing a video and distributing packets of information to black churches, hoping “Lifesong” will harness the power of art, dance and tradition to inspire action.
The video, illustrating an African tradition through a combination of narration, dancing and a PowerPoint presentation, tells of a mother and father singing their child into being — a song that the entire village joins .
“It’s a way of highlighting that children should not be accidents — that every child should come into this world knowing that he or she is wanted and loved,” said the Rev. John Long, pastor of King-Tubman Community Church in Daytona Beach.
Long said he would have a select group from his 250-member parish see the video, which was filmed two weeks ago, and then have them make a presentation based on what they see. The framework, Long said, has just the right amount of visuals and song to bring home the message more vividly than grim statistics could.
For additional information visit the Florida Health Department here.