Did you hear the shouts for change? Do feel the ripples spreading out all over the U.S.A? This Labor Day almost 10,000 people participated in an Improving Birth National Rally for Change! Nearly 10,000 people used their physical presence to demand evidence based maternity care by standing together all on the same morning. We can only attempt to measure the impact of this historic event.
Most rallies got some media attention. Improving Birth lists 68 different news stories on their website. That means countless numbers of people, who probably have no idea about birth politics or why birth even matters, got a taste for the change brewing in maternity care. Then there is Facebook, the National Improving Birth page reached 89,586 people in the week of the rally. The largest local page, San Antonio, TX reached 67,571. The modest page I administer for Salt Lake City, UT reached 10,571 people in the same week. The average reach of the 17 pages I have numbers for was 10,884 people, if you multiply this by the 110 rallies nationwide 1,197,318 were exposed to Improving Birth through Facebook in one week. I think my head would explode if I try to expand that number to the many weeks we have been promoting the rallies. There is also website traffic to measure and the people who drove or walked by a rally while it was in progress. We had a massive reach. Our ripples will be going out into the world for a long time!
However, all of those numbers do not come close to showing us what it was like to be at a rally. As I have browsed hundreds of pictures from rallies all over the place, there is one clear thread. People are having fun. They are connecting with others in their communities, and their faces show the joy and satisfaction that come along with doing something they know is making a difference. There are children holding signs and playing with balloons. There are men and women standing side by side, many of them with a small child in their arms or attached to their bodies. People are cheering and chanting. People passing in cars are waving and honking. At our rally in Utah an elderly couple was passing by in their car. They slowed way down to read each sign, smiled and even stopped to talk to some of the rally participants. These types of interactions were a highlight for people everywhere.
According to another number cruncher: since we had 75 people at last year’s rally and 9400 this year, the growth was 12533%. So, if we continue on the same growth rate, we can expect 1,178,133.33 people at next year’s rally. Imagine all the connections we will make, all the people we will influence, and all the relationships we will foster with our local hospitals as we demand change. The revolution is happening, and it is going to be fun!