CHICAGO —  In Grant Park Sunday, the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of a crowd of participants – parents, children and some babies in strollers – for the ‘March for Babies‘ event.

City of Chicago treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin partook in the celebration.

“We know that the US remains among the most dangerous developed nations for childbirth, especially for families of color,” Conyears-Ervin said. “Each year, one woman dies every 12 hours from pregnancy-related causes, and one in 10 babies is born too soon. Alongside our fighters and supporters, we are fighting to change that.”

The March of Dimes gives Chicago a ‘D’ grade for its preterm birth rate in its latest report card. Things are slightly better statewide, but in Illinois, the preterm birth rate among Black women is 51% higher than all other women.”

It’s why March of Dimes is raising funds and awareness.

“We connect with people who hope for a full-term healthy baby and we honor those who grieve the loss of a mother or child and who struggle with infertility,” Conyears-Ervin said.

March of Dimes is supporting research and policies to help close the health equity gap exacerbated by the pandemic. The nonprofit is also supporting families dealing with loss while advocating for critical access to prenatal care. 

Organizers call it “A Mother of a Movement,” taking meaningful steps for healthy moms and babies.