Call For Pitches: Addressing Racial Disparities in End Of Life Teaching & Practice

A cornerstone of the Order’s mission is to ensure that a good death is available to everyone. That mission will never be complete until access to a good death, and the resources needed to achieve it, are evenly distributed in our culture. At the moment, especially in Black and Indigenous communities, they are not.

We are seeking to publish a series of articles addressing these gaps. Articles in this series will be published on both The Order of the Good Death and The Collective for Radical Death Studies websites.

What?:

The series will focus on the following areas. First, the places where people are educated­– such as mortuary colleges, doula training programs, nursing programs, medical programs, and graduated programs– and how BIPOC history and experience is inaccurate or omitted in textbooks, trainings, or practice. Second, the places where end of life support is provided– such as hospices, hospitals, funeral homes, and cemeteries– and how BIPOC needs are ignored or unmet.

Examples of we’re looking for:

Please develop your own ideas for articles, but here are some examples of subjects and articles that would be a good fit for this series.

Why Are All the Wax Heads Caucasian? and other barriers in mortuary education.

– Value of ancestral medicine, language and lack of cultural understanding as barriers to accessing care in Asian and Latinx communities.

– How historical distrust of medical care within the Black community prevents patients from receiving care.

Cultural appropriation in teaching and practice.

– How can EOL carers and funeral service support immigrants of color, undocumented people, and communities who may be forced to deal with death in a place that does not support their beliefs and cultural practices?

– What are barriers and obstacles are there in mortuary science programs for BIPOC students? How do these things manifest in a professional funeral service setting? With families?

– The gentrification of funeral homes:

Who’s Buying Up All the Black Funeral Homes? (2005)

– Representation matters: funeral service associations led by BIPOC, like the National Funeral Directors and Morticians Association, and 100 Black Women of Funeral Service. Their history, contributions, and why they are necessary.

– How can end of life planning advisors, caregivers, and others reframe conversations about end of life issues, advance directives, and planning for those whom aging is a privilege and is not guaranteed due to systemic racism? When there are cultural beliefs about not wanting to manifest “bad things” by speaking about them? How can we help to preserve and protect generational and ancestral gifts of knowledge, culture, and heritage?

– Cultural and historical considerations regarding assets, financial planning, and intergenerational wealth at the end of life.

– Green burials for who? Considerations about burial on colonized land, commodification and marketing of green or natural burials.

Our Goal:

We recognize that those who work in death care do so out of a desire to be of service to others, and who wish to provide the best possible care. Especially at a time that can be immensely difficult and confusing.

Our goal is to address these gaps, initiate discussion, and support EOL and funeral care providers with possible solutions that can be put into practice; ultimately asking the question:

“How can those in EOL care imbue their work with fuller understanding and compassion, so that the care they provide will truly be the best for all?”

 

Submission guidelines:

We do not feature pieces that have been published elsewhere.

Word Count? We don’t have a firm word count, but the sweet spot for our audience is 800 – 1,000. We’re flexible, let’s talk.

Yes, we do pay! We are a small organization, so it is not nearly as much as we’d like, but we value you and your labor and will be offering $250+ as a starting rate to our contributors for this initiative.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We will follow up with you within two weeks if we are interested. We’re a very small operation, so unfortunately we don’t have the bandwidth to respond to, or provide feedback to everyone, but are so grateful for your time and that you thought to share your work with us.

How to pitch:

Email pitches to our editor, Sarah Chavez at deathsubmissions@gmail.com

Be sure to include “pitch” in your subject line.

– In 2-3 paragraphs let us know why your piece is a perfect fit for this series, and give us some details. Don’t forget to tell us why you are the best person to write it, or what particular insight you’ll be able to lend to the subject.

– Include links to previously published works, preferably things that are similar to your pitch. (For example, don’t send us something from an academic journal if you’re pitching a personal essay, if possible).

– No attachments or completed drafts. Please adhere to the 2-3 paragraphs mentioned above.