The four original founders of Uzazi Village (Hakima Tafunzi Payne, Mariah Chrans, Rebecca Liberty, and Tash Reed) had their first community meeting on December 9th, 2011 at the Kansas City Health Department, when community members were invited to share what their vision was regarding community-based maternity care. Uzazi Village was officially founded in May of 2012.

With the support of our community, we continue to dedicate our time to decreasing maternal and infant health inequity among Black and Brown communities.

Board of Directors

Latricia Clark   Tricia Coggins    


Hakima Tafunzi Payne


Netta Thompson


Kellye McCrary

CHW Programs Director  

Ceciley Wong

Education Director

Tovah Tanner

Community Outreach & Communications Director

Ameenah Johnson

Perinatal Doula Programs Manager


Ruth McCleery

Doula & Kansas Office Administrator

Delia Pearl

Village Doula and Student Midwife

Arrin Blount

Village Doula Lead

Rochelle Evans

Village Doula

Daysha Lewis

PRN Doula

Christian King

PRN Doula

Join Uzazi Village to make a difference for families in your community

4232 Troost Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64110  •  (816) 541-3718

Hakima Tafunzi Payne, known to her community as Mama Hakima, is the founder, and Chief Executive Officer of Uzazi Village, a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating health outcome disparities in perinatal health in African-American communities. She holds a Bachelors in Nursing and a Masters in Nursing Education and is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing Education. Ms. Payne is the creator of the following seven models of Afro-Centric healthcare:

  • Village Doula Program (a community-based home visiting program for pregnant individuals)
  • Chocolate Milk Café, (a peer to peer breastfeeding support group for Black families)
  • The Village Circle Approach, an Afro-centric group prenatal care model
  •  The Lactation Mentorship Program (IBCLC internship for Black candidates)
  • Perinatal Doula Training (full spectrum community-based doula training)
  •  Culturally Congruent Care in a Community Setting (antiracism healthcare curriculum)
  • Community Expert Review Board (community-based advocacy for research and policy)

Ms. Payne speaks nationally on the topic of Black perinatal health and community-based responses to health inequities. Ms.Payne works tirelessly to make birth safer, the village healthier, and to promote anti-racist care models.  She is the subject of an upcoming documentary, “Mama Hakima”. Ms. Payne is a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri.

About Netta

Netta is the COO at Uzazi Village. She is a Certified Breastfeeding Educator and holds a Master’s degree in Health Administration with an emphasis on Education. She has been in the healthcare field for more than 17 years. In 2015 she began working on a Mother/Baby unit at a local hospital and noticed that there were not enough women of color in the important role of teaching and assisting black mothers with breastfeeding. After many months of research, she began her journey towards becoming a lactation consultant and was referred to Uzazi Village in 2017. Under their teaching, guidance, and support, she is now ready to take the International Lactation Consultant boards. Netta is an active participant in Cradle KC, a collaborative in Wyandotte County whose focus is to eliminate racial bias in the healthcare system and create systems to empower families of color. Netta’s goals are to make breastfeeding a natural conversation in the healthcare field with expectant mothers, assist and provide support to women in her community throughout their pregnancy, and provide them with the tools and education to meet their individual goals of exclusively breastfeeding.

Kellye McCrary originally pursued a degree in Fashion Design with a minor in Accounting, but the universe had something different in mind. After running her own business for 25 years, and working in the nonprofit sector since 2002, Kellye was led to Uzazi Village and was trained to be a Perinatal Doula, Certified Community Health Care Worker, Perinatal Doula Instructor, and then transitioned to be the Program Director of Uzazi Village. Throughout Kellye’s life in Kansas City, where she was born and raised, she discovered she worked and lived in zip codes that statistically had the highest infant mortality rates. Being a single mother of one brainy and beautiful babe, Kellye knows the importance of a place like Uzazi Village in our community that supports and connects moms to resources, and support groups and other needs to help them through what life throws our way. Being a part of such an organization was aligned with her mission of being able to help other moms navigate through pregnancy and life’s peaks and valleys. In her free time, Kellye enjoys sewing, designing handbags, and learning about essential oils.

About Ceciley

Ceciley is the Office Manager at Uzazi Village, where she works hand-in-hand with the entire Uzazi Village team to conquer Black Maternal Health and reduce disparities in health care. When Ceciley isn’t assisting the Executive Team, she is providing the highest quality care to each client that walks through the doors of Uzazi Village. Ceciley is also the Rental Administrator, providing the community with the availability to rent out the Uzazi VIllage space for events.  

Hope is something of extraordinary power, it can feed the soul, it can light the way, it can move someone from darkness to light. This is exactly how I see my connection to the community as a Doula.

I have years of experience, working with women and families of all backgrounds, combating maternal and infant mortality within the hispanic community. I focus on building trusting relationships with my clients and their families to address their birthing needs and process as THEY take control of one of the most amazing experiences of their life.


La esperanza es algo de poder extraordinario, puede alimentar el alma, puede iluminar el camino, puede mover a alguien de la oscuridad a la luz. Así es exactamente como veo mi conexión con la comunidad como una Doula.

Años de experiencia, trabajando con mujeres y familias de todos los orígenes, combatiendo la mortalidad materna e infantil dentro de la comunidad hispana. Construir una relación de confianza con mis clientes y sus familias, para abordar sus necesidades y procesos de parto a medida que ELLOS toman el control de una de las experiencias más increíbles de su vida.

About Delia

Praise Him! I’m Delia Pearl, a mother of six beautiful little expressions of myself 4 girls and 3 boys and a bonus son! Ever since I was 10 years old I had a passion and a desire to become a midwife for mothers that might be overlooked due to their economic status or lack of education or support given by their surrounding healthcare providers. It all stemmed from learning that a older brother of mine in Cuba had a disability in his legs due to the lack of education the medical staff had about breached babies. I vowed to myself that I would never let that happen again to another person.

I later learned that my journey to becoming a Midwife started with learning and serving as a Doula. My OB/ Great Friend Dr. Mualik introduce me to Uzazi Village and Mama Hakima and that’s when my dreams started to become my reality.
I believe that childbirth is the rewarding result of being blessed to carry human life in your womb. The Journey should be filled with knowledge, power, love and lots of laughter no matter what your circumstance or social status is. I just want to bring ‘ big sister vibes’  and enjoy this journey with you!

My name is Arrin and I am the mother to two beautiful Goddesses Anastasia and Emberleigh. I am a certified full spectrum doula.  As a community-based doula, my passion in life is to break and prevent generational curses. 

I truly believe that it takes a village to raise a healthy and happy lineage. The mother needs to be mothered, the father needs to be fathered and the community needs to communicate. Effective parenting is one of the best ways to improve the world, and parenting begins the moment of conception and birth.

If I can help change the way women and their families views birth, I’m all for it. I need them to know birth is very doulable. (lol you see what I did there?) Providing my families with tools to advocate for themselves during a very sacred moment in time, is vital. Those same tools can be used in everyday life situations. Those same tools can be passed down to other generations. Preventing generational curses from occurring. Empowering women and their families is my new found passion, we’re an essential part in the genesis of life.

In 2019 I trained as an Uzazi Village birth and postpartum Doula. In addition to those trainings, I am a trained sex and reproductive educator, lactation peer counselor and childbirth educator. In 2021, I extended my knowledge in lactation by becoming a WIC trained breastfeeding peer counselor and in the same year I  also became a certified Endocannbinoid doula. Currently I am a mentoring other Uzazi Village Doulas under my new role as lead doula. 

About Rochelle

Rochelle is your Administrative Doula at the Ida Mae Patterson Center! Her mission is to connect all, especially People of Culture, to their divine potential and healing, so that they may live in their purpose and power, beyond all limitations. Her family includes her fiance, Morrell, their 5 year old son, Morrell II and their fur babies Demo and Mekka.

Rochelle was called to birth work as a child, mothering her many siblings and supporting friends through pregnancy, birth and loss. When she became pregnant, she realized there was a name for this role. Through her personal research, she became even more aware of the disparities we face while trying to bring our children earth side safely. Rochelle is a lifelong learner, she discovered Uzazi’s program during her pregnancy in 2017 and in 2020, decided to enroll, despite her 50 hour work week. During training, she questioned how she would  have time to begin her business and the answer came when she was laid off halfway through training! Rochelle immediately recognized and trusted that she was right where she should be and joined the Village, serving as a Village Doula full time.


Rochelle wants you to see yourself in your care. She is dedicated to empowering your family in attaining the birth and postpartum experience you deserve. She believes each birth is sacred, that each journey is as unique as your baby’s fingerprint and that it is an honor to serve families in something so special. Rochelle is a Certified Full Spectrum Doula, Community Health Worker, Hypnobabies Certified Hypno Doula and Reiki Master. She is presently completing a Prenatal Yoga Certification and Cannabis Doula Certification. When she is not serving families, she enjoys photography, trying new restaurants, cooking, traveling and spending time experiencing her family and friends.

About Daysha

My name is Daysha Lewis! I’ve been married for ten years with four children — two boys ages 11 and 6 — and two girls ages 5 and 2. In addition to being a Village Doula with Uzazi Village, I am a Parent Educator with Start At Zero. My life’s mission is to educate, empower, and advocate.

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My name is Christian King. I am the mother of three children, a community health worker, substitute teacher and currently pursuing a degree in History for Secondary Education. I am a native of Kansas CIty, MO and I enjoy traveling, gathering with friends and family, baking, educating, and trying new foods. My interest in becoming a doula came after developing Gestational Hypertension that progressed to Preeclampsia. I was not aware of how sick I was and how dangerous the condition is. I spent almost two weeks admitted in the hospital, most of the time alone. My daughter was born as a late term preemie, spending 1 week in the NICU. Once I learned how sick I really was, I decided to help other Moms to never be unaware and alone. I became a SIster Doula after learning how little my community knew about their rights and options, the degree of inequalities and biases faced, the large margin in which our women and babies die, and how many women just lack support. I believe women should be loaded with knowledge and feel so much love, support, and empowerment that she is able to create the ideal image for her birth experience, including cases of emergency. I believe that women should not feel alone after having a baby or when dealing with loss. I contribute to a birth knowledge, empowerment, a peaceful and serene environment, and hands on support when needed. Women should be able to always make informed decisions when it comes to themselves and their babies. I am passionate about birth and understanding how babies and our bodies work together during labor and delivery. I believe that understanding this can help reduce C-Sections and help women change the way we receive medical care.

My philosophy about birth is being knowledgeable to make informed decisions about your birth experience, being empowered enough to advocate for yourself, and creating a birthing environment suitable and comfortable to create the most calming and controlled journey to your baby’s journey earthside.