Elizabeth Estrada is a Mexican immigrant living in Miami, by way of Atlanta, GA. She started serving the Latino community as an immigrant and reproductive rights activist in Atlanta. Elizabeth later joined the Feminist Women’s Health Center’s team of promotoras through the Lifting Latina Voices Initiative, where she provided sexual and reproductive health education to Latinas in the metro Atlanta area. Elizabeth joined the Latina Institute’s Florida Latina Advocacy Network in July of 2013, where she will continue to serve the Latino community.
I am so excited and proud to be joining the Latina Institute team and what a better time than at the start of our Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice! I have been working for reproductive justice for the past 3 years in my native Atlanta. True to the southern states I see many similarities regarding abortion restrictions in both Atlanta and Florida. This is the reason I decided to join Latina Institute’s Field Organizing team in Miami.
Restrictions on women’s reproductive rights have been popping up everywhere in the U.S. Since 2011 over 120 abortion restrictive pieces of legislation were present in several different states across the US. It’s important that we fight to keep our reproductive freedom, but what about ACCESS? I think of the many women of color that are affected by a lack of access to make the choices they need. This is why Latina Week of Action is so important to me.
As a Mexican immigrant I am aware of the many barriers there are to access health care services in the US. There is fear of having to present any kind of legal documents when entering a community health clinic, the lack of knowing the language, and the basic need for transportation to get to the clinic or doctor. Now with the new immigration reform on the table, we must be forced to wait 15 years to access any kind of health services? Latin@s have been major contributors to the US, not only by our (under paid) labor, but by the many sacrifices we make to be a valuable part of the US. We see examples of this with immigrants working in the strawberry fields of GA, and the tomato fields of FL, all the while exposing ourselves to the many dangers that come along with working in these lines of work.
Latinas are an invaluable part of the fabric that makes the US thrive and it is not fair to ask that we wait 15 years to access health services. This is not a partisan matter; this can be a matter of life and death in some cases. When creating immigration reform, we must not primarily think about the economy, but of family unity, compassion, and care for the people that live here. We must not forget the importance of including ALL people in the reform, most notably our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I’m happy to be a part of Latina Institute’s team in FL and be joined by many other wonderful organizations that are fighting for justice in immigration reform and across many other issues that intersect with reproductive justice.
We will fight until we achieve justice. Seguimos adelante!!