Black Mamas ATX Leadership & Staff

We are a group of everyday women dedicated to an extraordinary movement to save the lives of Black mothers.

Black Mamas ATX is governed by the Black Mamas Community Collective

Black Mamas Community Collective was founded by Dr. Michele Rountree, Ph.D. Read her full bio here.










Starla Simmons

Interim Executive Director

Starla Simmons, LCSW is a clinical assistant professor strongly rooted in social justice and racial equity. She worked in Austin ISD for over 10 years providing a range of direct care services to families, students, and staff. Starla has passion for supporting the vitality and resilience of communities of color. She is experienced in holistic practices such as ecotherapy, mindfulness and TBRI (Trust-based Relational Intervention).

In addition to direct services, she worked as the liaison and coordinator for AISD’s school mental health centers, providing consultation and operational support for school-based therapy services at 19 middle and high schools.

Starla has facilitated trainings in Austin non-profits around the topics of racial equity, social justice, mindfulness, self-care, and ecotherapy. Previously, she served as an Austin leader for the national non-profit Outdoor Afro, which celebrates and inspires Black leadership in nature. She currently serves as board chair for Mama Sana Vibrant Woman, a local non-profit that provides pregnancy and birth support to women of color.

At home, Starla is Mama Bear to her two children and spirited partner to her husband, Thomas. She loves exploring natural swimming holes, sitting under trees, camping & live music. 

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Aphrica Farrow

Aphrica Farrow

Sister Doula

Born and raised in Austin, Aphrica is a full time mother of 4 beautiful girls. Prior to becoming a DONA certified doula with Black Mamas ATX,  she worked as Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at Mom’s Place.  Aphrica is also a certified community health worker and through a grant from ConnectHer,  she is currently completing requirements to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).


When she is not working with mamas , she is busy attending any number of extra-curricular activities in support of her daughters. Aphrica shares that “If and when have any spare time I like to spend it sleeping, reading or catching up on any missed TV shows.”  When speaking of the work she does with BMATX she says, “I am so blessed and proud to be a part of an organization that impacts the lives of mothers and babies in such a meaningful way!”

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Aphrica Farrow

Aisha Ralph

Sister Doula

 Aisha Ralph has been a birth worker for more than ten years. She’s a doula, midwife, childbirth educator and natural birth advocate. She strongly believes in women’s innate ability to give birth their way, safely and with strength. Aisha is committed to using her both knowledge and experience to positively impact the maternal health of Black women in the USA, the Caribbean and throughout the continent of Africa.

Originally from Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean, she’s been a Texas resident since 2018. Aisha is an avid reader, a writer, and loves to travel. In a former life she was an accountant, auditor, actress and model. She’s a wife, step-mom, sister, auntie and friend.

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Aphrica Farrow

Alicia Beatrice, LCSW-S, LCDC

Social Worker

Alicia is from Houston, Texas and got to Austin as fast as she could.  She is a proud Mama of 2 resilient, brilliant boys. She has been a social worker for more than seven years providing culturally congruent, anti-oppressive, trauma informed services to children, families, and seniors.  She is a licensed clinical social worker, board approved social work supervisor, licensed chemical dependency counselor and taught for three years as an adjunct professor in at Fordham University Online MSW Program.  Alicia received her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and Master of Social Work from The University of Houston and is currently working towards becoming a certified yoga teacher.

It is an honor to be the first social worker for Black Mamas ATX. Alicia’s relentless devotion to racial equity, social justice and human rights issues emerged from her ongoing evolution of kicking generational trauma, postpartum depression, and anxiety to the curb.  She is committed to empowering and affirming Black mothers throughout the birthing journey to experience holistic healing and the joy of motherhood with compassion and love.

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Aphrica Farrow

Erin Backus, MPH

Grant Manager

Erin is a native Texan who’s social service roots have impacted youth and the underserved across the state’s following major cities: DFW, Austin, El Paso, and Houston. She received her BA in African and African Diaspora Studies and BS in Athletic Training from the University of Texas at Austin. She recently graduated with her Master of Public of Health from the UT Health Science Center at Houston. Her background in healthcare and lived experience as a Black woman led her to intern twice for Black Mamas ATX. Now she has returned for a third appearance as a grant manager for BMATX and the MHEC’s Safer Childbirth Cities grant!  Her dream is to empower BIPOC to live their best lives through health and wellness, self-expression, and art.  She believes in the power of people and advocates for the empowerment of BIPOC women everywhere.  When she’s not in a class or out hustling, you can find her traveling the globe, out in nature, or curled up on the couch with a good book or movie. 

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