About Us

Chocolate Milk Café is a national network developed by Black lactation, human milk feeding, and breastfeeding advocates and professionals to provide culturally congruent care to families of the African Diaspora. Using peer-led lactation support groups and professional development programs, we provide education and create sacred spaces to empower and advocate for Black families, on both national and local levels.

We currently have 13 active chapters across 11 states plus Canada with over 30 Facilitators serving Black families.

OUR FOUNDER

HAKIMA TAFUNZI PAYNE

Chocolate Milk Café was created by Hakima Tafunzi Payne, an African-American perinatal nurse and breastfeeding educator lovingly referred to as Mama Hakima. Mama Hakima witnessed the breastfeeding disparities among African-American women and sought to create a safe space that provides peer to peer support with access to Black Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) and/or Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC). Mama Hakima identified the need to have a group model that not only provides breastfeeding support but also uplifts and celebrates Black culture, experiences, kinship and community.

"... we must restore the village way of life. We must return to collective action, collective caring, and collective living."

— Hakima Tafunzi Payne, Urban Village Midwife

Our Mission

Our mission is to make sure that we, as families of the African Diaspora, receive lactation and infant feeding support to reclaim human milk as the first food of Black communities everywhere, starting with the United States.

Our Vision

Our vision is to exist in a world that allows Black people to connect with each other in sacred spaces; where the legacy of nourishing our babies has been restored, cherished and shared among us and with future generations. This requires that breastfeeding, chestfeeding, bodyfeeding, and the expression of human milk in the Black community will have been normalized.

Core Values

Our core values inform everything about how we work. We believe that:

  • Human milk feeding is normal in the Black community, as in any human community.
  • Parents, families, and anyone raising children should be able to feel empowered to feed (or nurse) their children out in the world however they choose to do so.
  • Representation matters. This is why we celebrate and center our Black experiences, provide services for and by those of us who are part of the African Diaspora, and honor each other as members of the African Diaspora.
  • Informed consent is fundamental to showing respect for each other and ending cycles of violence that disproportionately affect our communities. For this reason, we honor bodily autonomy for all humans by disclosing our intentions when seeking permission to act; not assuming consent is granted; working to minimize retaliation, fear, or shame associated with communicating needs, limits, and preferences; and recognizing that we may make different decisions than others because of our different experiences, resources, abilities, and needs, and other factors others may not be aware of.
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