A public education program about breast-feeding will begin this weekend in downtown Silver Spring, as a result of a recent controversy over breast-feeding in public.
On Aug. 9, a Washington, D.C., mother visiting downtown was asked to cover up or leave by a security guard after she was seen publicly breast-feeding her 11-month-old girl near the fountain. The security guard worked for Peterson Companies, the company that manages downtown Silver Spring.
Events Manager Lillian Buie apologized for the miscommunication and has partnered with La Leche League of Silver Spring to help facilitate the breast-feeding campaign.
The first event is scheduled for Saturday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Ellsworth Drive near the fountain in downtown. Representatives from La Leche will be on hand to answer questions from the public at a booth, and they will distribute copies of Maryland's breast-feeding law as well.
Emily Johnson, a La Leche League leader who has worked with the organization for about seven years, said her group will be there to help educate people and not to make a political statement.
“We we’re really glad that [Lillian] wanted to educate her security guards and the public," Johnson said.
"Usually when this happens and the restaurant or business responds negatively, they need to change their policy.”
This is Johnson's first time being called upon to educate in a circumstance like this, and she is excited to be a part of the program. She said the management company did exactly what it was supposed to do.
“People in our culture refer to the breast as being sexualized," Johnson said, "and that anything that has to do with it is wrong and it should be covered up."
“In other cultures it’s normal. I hope we can get there in America, because it’s just a mom feeding her baby.”