Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (CGBI)

CGBI: Breastfeeding Exclusive January 2018- Colleague Corner

Brenda Reyes, RN, CLC

Brenda is a bilingual registered nurse and certified lactation counselor. She has more than 15 years of experience working with diverse organizations to create and implement peer support programs for new moms and families — not only in Chicago where she resides, but throughout the U.S. Her work engages communities every step of the way.

Currently, Brenda works with HealthConnect One, and serves as their representative to the United States Breastfeeding Committee (USBC). She was elected in 2016 to USBC’s national board. She is also an elected board member of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Support Providers of Color.  She participates in the Center for Social Inclusion’s National First Food Racial Equity Cohort;  served as a work group member of the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) for the United States; and is an Expert Panel Member for WIC.

Brenda has served as both Secretary and Treasurer of the Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task Force, and is a current member. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Center for Sustainable Health Outreach and on the Illinois WIC Peer Counselor Advisory Committee. She is a frequent speaker on breastfeeding, maternal and child health, health equity, and supporting Latino families. Brenda is a reproductive justice and racial equity advocate and mother of three breastfed children.

CGBI: Brenda, those of us who have met you can see you are very passionate about your work. Tell us what drives your passion and motivation to do breastfeeding and racial equity work.

Brenda: My own lived experience in birthing and breastfeeding my own children and love for my community motivates me to continue to do racial equity work.  Observing, experiencing, baring witness to injustice in my professional work and in my community continues to propel me forward.  I stand on the shoulder of wonderful People of Color who are social justice advocates in my community and across the country who have paved the way for me. I believe that first food is one of the most powerful resources we have in our communities.

CGBI: Tell our readers something about yourself they wouldn’t otherwise know.

Brenda: I love dancing and listening to a variety of music. I can listen to music all day long! I enjoy doing Zumba and spending time with ‘mi familia’!