Celine Malanum is a certified lactation educator-counselor (CLEC), a proud Long Beach native (Longfellow, Hughes, Poly), and a breastfeeding mother since 2009. She is currently tandem-nursing her daughters, aged 5.5 years and 14 months. In 2013, she co-organized Latch & Link Long Beach: Breastfeeding Community Fair, with Christine Gibson, a fellow Long Beach mother and breastfeeding advocate, whom she met while she was volunteering on the Steering Committee of BreastfeedLA (Gibson was on staff). Latch & Link was a grassroots effort, a free resource fair and celebration dedicated to supporting and growing the breastfeeding community in Long Beach, California. In addition, she has organized several other community events including breastfeeding-themed Open Mic nights at a local coffee house, lactation cookie swap, and a donor breast milk drive benefitting Mothers’ Milk Bank. Latch & Link 2013 was attended by over 750 people! A record was set with the breastfeeding challenge, “The Great Long Beach Latch” – 162 babies latched on and nursing! While serving on BreastfeedLA’s Steering Committee, she wrote breastfeeding articles published in the Wet Set Gazette, L.A. Parent, and Long Beach Examiner. She created and maintains the Long Beach Breastfeeding Resource Directory, a free bi-annual publication that lists all breastfeeding services, support, and retail in Long Beach. As a CLEC, she started a weekly breastfeeding support group at Beach Cities Midwifery and provides free breastfeeding consults via phone and email.
In 2015, she will be working towards incorporating Latch & Link into her dream project – Long Beach Breastfeeds, a not-for-profit organization building Long Beach’s breastfeeding community through projects rooted in community, equity, and diversity. Among these projects is the Breastfeeding Bus – a self-contained mobile lactation clinic and breastfeeding support group in a converted old school bus. The bus will go to a different Long Beach park or community center each week. Services will be free, in various languages, and open to all. Celine is passionate about making breastfeeding education and support equitable and accessible to all Long Beach mothers and babies, and is committed to a dynamic organization that changes with and for the community.
Celine has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from San Francisco State University, and studied poetry at the New School University in New York. Before having a family, she was the Program Manager for WriteGirl, a nationally acclaimed nonprofit writing and mentoring organization aimed at teen girls. While there, she taught writing workshops to teen parents in alternative school settings, and fell in love with the young mothers. She taught creative writing workshops for Girls & Gangs, and for the young mothers’ program at AltaMed, Long Beach. She has edited several youth writing chapbooks and anthologies.
Celine has a history of community service, graduating from the inaugural youth class of Leadership Long Beach, and later co-chaired their first fundraising campaign. In her life beyond breastfeeding, she is a writer and teaches poetry and yoga to kids. She lives in North Long Beach with her husband, Mark, and two nurslings, aged 5 years and 1 year.
From a young age, Maricela Renteria de Rivera has been a dedicated volunteer, devoting herself to the empowerment of others. As a mother of two small children, living in one of Long Beach’s most diverse neighborhoods, she hopes to inspire them to lead passionate lives in pursuit of social justice.
When Maricela’s son was born in September 2010 she felt a shift in consciousness and fully embraced motherhood. Her breastfeeding journey took her to a La Leche League meeting. This monthly meeting was one of her only connections to other breastfeeding mamas for over a year. She recognized a need for a more connected breastfeeding community in Long Beach, as well as the need to reach a more diverse breastfeeding population, truly reflective of Long Beach. In July 2012, Maricela created a Facebook group, Breastfeeding Support for Long Beach Area Moms, to provide round the clock support to her breastfeeding friends, and their friends. What started as a group with approximately 30 women has grown to almost 900 members. By many accounts, this group continues to have a profound impact on the success rates of breastfeeding in the greater Long Beach area. Mamas are encouraged to trust in their bodies and babies, while receiving support in a wide range of gentle parenting topics. She regularly gives 15-30 hours a week to counseling breastfeeding mamas both in the group setting, and privately.
Attending the 2015 Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference is an important step for Maricela in her breastfeeding advocacy, particularly in communities of color and the LGBTQ community. Much of the current breastfeeding outreach and support in Long Beach is focused in the upper middle class less diverse areas. Her vision is to focus on placemaking for underserved communities of breastfeeding families, by linking to clinical and emotional support.
As learned from a family committed to social justice through political activism, the issues close to Maricela’s heart are many, but are connected. She graduated from Leadership Long Beach in 2010 to further her goals of working on a variety of issues in the city. This passion for community turned into a passion for the organization that touches and positively impacts every sector in Long Beach. Maricela has served on the Board of Directors for Leadership Long Beach since July 2012. The last two years she’s also been on the Executive Committee. Being a mama comes first to Maricela. Her son, and now her infant daughter, have attended each board meeting, class day that Maricela has led, planning meetings, board retreats, etc. They have watched her give to her community, and have participated when possible.
Maricela’s commitment to environmental justice and economic parity have made her a longtime public transportation user and advocate. In January 2012 Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster appointed her to a city commission, the Long Beach Transportation Company. Since her appointment, Maricela has served on various committees, including Chair of the Transparency Committee, and member of the Selection Committee for Long Beach Transit’s current CEO. She currently sits on the Executive Committee as Vice Chair.
Her role as a community leader recently garnered Maricela accolades in the form of being a finalist in the 2014 Press Telegram’s Amazing Women Volunteer category and being recognized by Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal as a Steward of the Second District. While humbling, this was not her first recognition as a committed volunteer. While pursuing a double major of English and Business Administration, with a Non-profit Management emphasis, at Mount Saint Mary’s College, Maricela was awarded one of the most prestigious awards given, Volunteer of the Year.
Before becoming a full-time mama, Maricela had a career dedicated to public service, with positions in public affairs with the City of Long Beach, community organizing underrepresented communities and coalition building for the Campaign for College Opportunity, and recruiting minority communities for the National Marrow Donor Program at the American Red Cross. At the time she left the professional world, she also left an active life of service as an American Red Cross, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and Special Olympics volunteer. What she has never stopped, and will continue to work on with the benefit of attending the Breastfeeding and Feminism International Conference, is advocacy for people of color, the LGBTQ community, and women.