Leader Spotlight: Celebrating Stephanie Amekuedi

by LLL Leader Tyler Griffin, Certified Lactation Educator

In an organization like La Leche League, which is rooted in tradition and history, Leader Stephanie Amekuedi emerges as a force for transformation and hope. I sat down with Stephanie in a heart-to-heart chat to delve into her experience as a Black La Leche League Leader. What I discovered was that her ongoing journey with LLL is a testament to resilience, courage, and the relentless pursuit of inclusivity. Stephanie’s story is about breaking down barriers, building bridges, and nurturing a community where everyone feels valued and supported.

Finding Allies Within LLL

When Stephanie began her journey with LLL, she stepped into a realm of forces sometimes resistant to change. Stephanie bravely points out the elephant in the room—the organization’s history of alienating those who do not fit the traditional mold. Yet, her experience was cushioned by the unexpected allies she found within the organization—white women who took it upon themselves to shield her, to educate themselves, and to challenge the status quo alongside her. This protective embrace was a rare privilege, a beacon of hope amidst the struggle for equity and representation.

Hope for Equity

In the arena of activism and leadership, the threat of burnout is particularly acute for some Black La Leche League Leaders. Stephanie shared the importance of reevaluating our perception of time,not merely as a resource but as a means to acknowledge the unique challenges some Black La Leche League Leaders face. There is sometimes an assumption that Leaders must conform to a narrow, Euro-centric image of a cis-heterosexual, stay-at-home mother. This idea not only marginalizes a broad and diverse group but also overlooks the reality that many Black Leaders cannot afford to view time as a readily available commodity.

Stephanie’s vision challenges us to look beyond traditional models and to strive for a community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive, contribute, and be recognized for their unique value. Stephanie is passionate about being a part of the solution, working towards an equitable future for La Leche League USA. The journey toward inclusivity and equity is not a solitary one, though. It requires the collective effort of every member, ally, and Leader within LLL USA.

A Mother, Leader, Proud Black American

In the tapestry of life’s relentless hustle and her work for equity within La Leche League USA, Stephanie is a proud Black American person, mother, wife, and so many other things! She navigates errands and responsibilities, cherishes moments with her spouse, crafts nourishing meals, and nurtures her five beautiful children. Amidst the whirlwind, she finds her anchor in the sacred act of breastfeeding, a cornerstone that not only strengthens the bond with her children but also illuminates her desire to support and uplift lactating families. In the nurturing embrace of parenthood, Stephanie finds the strength to face life’s chaos with grace, imparting lessons of compassion, patience, and unconditional love that will echo through generations.

Stephanie lives in Rolesville, North Carolina and has been an LLL Leader since January 2020. She currently serves on the LLL USA Council as an elected delegate for the Mosaic Area Network.  She is a Certified Breastfeeding Specialist. She is also the Founder of Nourish and Thrive, a human milk feeding organization, whose mission is to provide resources and access to lactation education to Black lactating mothers and families.

While the path to inclusivity and equity is fraught with challenges, it is also filled with allies, opportunities, and moments of triumph. As Stephanie continues to pave the way for future Leaders, her legacy serves as an inspiration for all those who believe in the power of community, diversity, and unwavering determination.

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Send your stories to Kylie at [email protected].

Supporting Breastfeeding Families–Today, Tomorrow, Always

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