Spike Lee's wife directs documentary examining maternal mortality crisis

Tonya Lewis Lee, co-director of 'Aftershock,' speaks to WPTV's Hollani Davis
WPTV anchor Hollani Davis speaks to Tonya Lewis Lee during a Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies luncheon on May 11, 2023.jpg
Posted at 9:30 AM, May 12, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-12 11:14:41-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies continues to champion infant and maternal health since its inception in Palm Beach County.

The group provides support groups, operates an emergency formula and diaper pantry, and most recently began a doula training program to address the issues of maternal mortality and morbidity, especially in minority communities.

During HMHB's annual "Moment" luncheon, WPTV facilitated a one-on-one chat with this year's featured speaker.

Tonya Lewis Lee co-directed "Aftershock," a documentary examining the maternal mortality crisis. The documentary debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year and just picked up a Peabody award.

Lee told WPTV she had the full support of her husband, acclaimed director Spike Lee, to put this problem on screen and convey what she said is a fundamental human rights issue.

Lee said what she is most proud of is that the film has been a catalyst for starting an important conversation about this maternal epidemic.

Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies said in Palm Beach County, 27 per 1,000 women had severe maternal morbidity in 2021 (near-death childbirth experience) and six women died from childbirth complications.