Ynanna Djehuty, née Carmen Mojica, is an Afro-Dominicana born and raised in the Bronx. She is a midwife, writer and reproductive health activist. The focus of her work is on the empowerment of women and people of the African Diaspora, specifically discussing the Afro-Latina identity. She utilizes her experience as a midwife to raise awareness on maternal and infant health for women, highlighting the disparities in the healthcare system in the United States for women of color.
Education & Early Years
Ynanna’s interest in social justice was planted in high school through Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, an after school program focused on social justice in the South Bronx. This seed was later nurtured in her undergraduate career at the State University of New York at New Paltz where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Black Studies and Television/Radio Productions; in 2004, became a sister of Mu Sigma Upsilon Sorority, Inc.
Publications & Dedication to Women Empowerment
Her experienced within the Black Studies department became the spark for her quest of self-determination. Shortly after graduation, Ynanna decided to add to the growing number of Afro-Latina personal narratives and in October 2009, published her first book, ‘Hija De Mi Madre’ (My Mother’s Daughter). Formed through a combination of memoirs, poems, and research materials, Ynanna explains the effects of race on identity from an academic standpoint while sharing her personal story as a metaphor to place a common cultural experience into context.
From the process of writing her first book, she then grew an interest in understanding womanhood. Exploring her own connection to her body, Ynanna became aware of holistic methods to address her needs and identifying self-care. This awareness in cultivating a healthy body and spirit further fueled her interest in empowering women throughout the lifespan of their lives, particularly in pregnancy and childbirth. During this time, Ynanna continued to expand on her success, publishing her first collection of poetry in Spanish entitled “Odas de La Mujer de Miel,” and contributing to anthologies such as “The Period Project” and “Walking in the Feminine”.
Accomplishments & Affiliations
Ynanna is a 2013 Voices of Our Future (VOF) Correspondent through World Pulse. VOF is a citizen journalism and digital empowerment training by renowned experts, including program partners The Global Press Institute and The Op-Ed Project. Through personal mentoring sessions and support from a Vision Mentor and an Editorial Mentor to help hone her unique voice and connecting with grassroots women leaders from around the globe, Ynanna gained the ability to write poignant breaking news, op-ed, profile and multimedia news pieces and continues to use those skills to report on issues in reproductive health and justice. She was chosen as 1 of 3 correspondents who spoke on the World Pulse Live tour in Fall 2014. The focus of her presentation was maternal health disparities in the United States.
In August 2011 through a fellowship with Hudson Perinatal Consortium, Ynanna became a certified birth doula. Graduating from Maternidad La Luz, a midwifery school and birth clinic in El Paso, Texas, Ynanna attended over 90 births and provided prenatal and postpartum care in Spanish to mothers. As a doula, she provides mental, emotional, and spiritual support for women during and after the course of the pregnancy as well as providing additional support to the women’s family and friends.
In addition to being a midwife and a published writer, Ynanna has been a public speaker presenting on issues ranging from reproductive health, Afro-Latinidad, systems of power, and healing. Since 2008, Ynanna has presented at over 20 colleges, universities, and conferences including the Black Girls Project Sisterhood Summit, Syracuse University, National Dominican Student Conference, Cornell University, Hampshire College, New York University, “Afro-Latin@s Now!” Conference, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2014, Ynanna co-founded La Galeria Magazine in an effort to address, discuss, and provide an online platform surrounding the issues within the Dominican Diaspora.