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Donor Network West Premieres Short Film, We Speak Life, To Address Mistrust Of Organ & Tissue Donation In The Black Community

We Speak Life seeks to raise awareness about healthcare disparities in the Black community and dispel myths about organ & tissue donation

SAN RAMON, CA (January 26, 2021) –Donor Network West announced the premiere of We Speak Life, a short film that candidly addresses the historical mistrust of organ and tissue donation within the Black community. The film features a diversity of Black voices aimed at addressing the health disparities —high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and obesity—that disproportionately affect the Black community, which has resulted in an overrepresentation of Black patients on transplant waiting lists across the U.S. The film will be released virtually on February 25, 2021 at 6 pm. To attend the live viewing party, register at

Blacks make up approximately 13 percent of the United States population. Yet, almost 30 percent of the total candidates waiting for an organ transplant are Black. And only 12 percent of organ donors are Black, resulting in a longer waiting times and an increased risk of death.

As the first short film offering by Donor Network West, We Speak Life seeks to facilitate more conversations within the Black community about healthy activities and preventative care to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and how organ and tissue donation can help save and heal lives. The film is also a call to action to encourage more Blacks to register to become organ donors. One donor can save up to 8 lives through organ donation and heal as many as 75 lives through tissue donation.

“We Speak Life is a powerful and hopeful short film that highlights the mistrust and misinformation around organ and tissue donation within the Black community,” said Janice F. Whaley, President and CEO of Donor Network West. “I hope that We Speak Life helps spark new conversations about organ and tissue donation within the Black community and inspires more Blacks to register to become organ donors.”

The We Speak Life short film was conceived following the success of Donor Network West’s groundbreaking campaign, Giving Me Life, a photography and multimedia exhibition depicting the visual testimonials of nine Black transplant recipients from the San Francisco Bay Area, who overcame incredible obstacles in their respective journeys towards health and wellness thanks to the gift of organ, eye and tissue donation. The exhibition sought to elevate the lives of Blacks and affirm that #BlackLivesMatter in the realm of organ and tissue donation for transplantation.

The film will be available following the live viewing party on the Donor Network West website and the Donor Network West YouTube channel.

January 26, 2021