I’m deeply honored to have been chosen to be one among BlogHer2015’s Voices of the Year, an honor from SheKnows Media meant to celebrate outstanding creators who have pushed readers to think more, feel more, share more, laugh more, and do more. MyBrownBaby was chosen for the deeply moving post, “Meditation On Jahi McMath, Brain Death, Compassion and a Black Mother’s Love,” about a young teenage girl who was declared dead by hospital officials after routine tonsil surgery, setting off a highly-publicized battle between doctors and the girl’s mother, who insisted that her daughter was still alive. A year and a half after being declared dead, Jahi is at an undisclosed location, still in a coma, but alive without help of a ventilator. Her family recently filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming emotional distress and medical negligence they say significantly deteriorated Jahi’s quality of life.

My piece argues that no matter the outcome, Jahi’s mother didn’t deserve the ridicule and callous treatment she received for making the decisions she made on behalf of her baby. Press play and listen to me read it aloud at the BlogHer15 Voices of the Year ceremony.

God bless Jahi. God bless her mom.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. What a moving piece. God bless this Mommy and her child and you for your powerful words. This moved me to tears.

  2. Thank you for speaking on this, Denene. I hadn’t heard about this at all, and now my heart hurts for Jahi and her family. Unimaginable! As usual, you took something layered and even scary, and turned it into a simple and soulful expression of feelings through words.

  3. Candice Sargood

    Denene, your blog was indeed deeply moving. But it is flawed in a very important way.
    Jahi is dead, not in a coma. Her brain failed to recover from that punishing lack of blood flow. She is still on a ventilator, as the records submitted by the family indicate this is true. Jahi won’t be recovering.
    We have the family’s side of the story about what happened, and now the hospital staff, if it is freed of HIPAA regulations at trial, may have their say. If they decide not to tell their side of it, then we might assume the hospital totally failed Jahi. Until then, I am not willing to assume they were as negligent as portrayed.
    Jahi’s family were unable and unwilling to accept the fact that she is dead. Praying heartily and having great faith will not bring her back. Jahi’s story has been replayed several times in the past 1.5 years with other beloved children. It will continue to happen that families will refuse to accept death, will not recognize it, will not let go when they need to. Becoming their advocates is passion misplaced. This story is far more complicated that a mother ridiculed: I do agree with the previous caller – you took something layered and scary and turned it into something simple.

  4. When I read your work I am enthralled, when I hear you read your pieces I am awed. My heart aches for Jahi’s family – I really should stop reading beautiful tributes like this at work because runny mascara looks good on no one. I feel so blessed to have met you and am now obsessively reading through all your stuff I can get my hands on.

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