Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez is being honored by the Ms. Foundation for Women with a Women of Vision award. Below is a message from the staff and board of NLIRH. Congrats Silvia!

We are thrilled to announce that the Ms. Foundation will be honoring NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez as one of three “2010 Women of Vision” awardees at its annual Gloria Awards. The “Women of Vision” award celebrates grassroots women activists and philanthropists whose achievements bring us closer to our vision of a just and inclusive democracy.

Under Silvia’s leadership, NLIRH has become one of the organizations on the forefront of the reproductive health and justice movements for Latinas and immigrants.

Throughout the recent health care reform debates, NLIRH was one of the few organizations to openly demand full health care access, including abortion coverage, for all women and immigrants. We organized local advocates for outreach to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, headlined a national abortion rights lobby day in Washington, D.C., and solidified relationships with immigration rights coalitions to build support for upcoming reforms that recognize the reproductive health and rights of all women immigrants.

The Award Ceremony honoring Silvia’s leadership is being held on May 20th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, visit this website.

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Understanding Health Care Reform

What: A virtual cafecito (informal discussion over coffee) to discuss the latest on Health Care Reform hosted by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Why: Health care reform was recently signed into law however, for Latinas, the result is a mixed-bag. Join us to learn about provisions that help and hurt women and immigrants, and the timeline for implementation of benefits. You will also hear about state based initiatives being proposed and how this can affect health care reform in your state.

When: Wednesday, April 7th at 12pm EST

Where: It’s virtual (on the phone)! So bring your cafecito (coffee), and we will provide the call-in information, upon registration. Please click here to register.

*Note: This same cafecito will be facilitated in Spanish at 1pm – a separate registration is required. Please click here to register for the Spanish cafecito.

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Two weeks ago, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, a Chicago-based organization run by girls and women with experience in the sex trade and street economies, gave a talk at the CUNY Graduate Center.  This youth leadership organization, whose motto is “Girls do what they have to do to survive,” hosted the first event I’ve ever attended that stressed the resilience of young girls as opposed to their downtrodden status in society.

Having been to several conferences addressing the sex trade whose messages were couched in pity for the trafficked or coerced “victims,” I couldn’t help but smile when the members of YWEP insisted that these women and girls were capable of coping with and overcoming the stress of violence and did not need to be “saved from themselves.”  This emboldening message of harm reduction and social justice initiatives, coupled with the extensive report they compiled and presented – “A Participatory Action Research Study of Resilience and Resistance” – reminded audience members that young women and girls can conduct research and support one another through the worst of times.

While this message was certainly inspiring, some of the vocabulary YWEP employs was disconcerting.  For instance, while the organization promotes harm reduction as a component of resilience, it condones Self-Harm Resilience, defined as controlled self-injury and cutting, as a method for regulating one’s own body.  This could prove troubling to advocates of healthy coping mechanisms, but YWEP is rooted in the language of non-judgment and supports “unconventional” resilience strategies.

For those interested in supporting the efforts of YWEP, the organization has issued these requests: members are seeking the aid of trained medical professionals to teach them how to perform self-exams, since many young girls and women cannot afford to visit a hospital or are afraid that a member of the medical staff could turn them over to the authorities.  They asked that policymakers think through all aspects of proposed legislation to eliminate adverse effects to women and girls and to check abuse within the institutions – including police stations, foster-care centers, and medical centers – that often put them in more jeopardy.  I hope others encourage these girls and young women to keep fighting back and assuming responsibility for their own lives.

By Nicole Cata, Policy Intern

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Black History Month logo in black and pinkThis week marks the beginning of Black History Month.  During this month, we recognize the economic, historical, and social contributions made by the African American community. What started as “Negro History Week” in 1926, Black History Month has become recognized and widely celebrated on both a scholarly and commercial level since its official inception in 1976.

Here at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, we want to take this opportunity to honor the struggles and triumphs of the millions of African Americans who have changed our world, and who perhaps paved the way for other activists to continue the fight for human rights.

As Latin@s, it is important to recognize and celebrate our own African heritage, and those among our community who are Afro-Latin@. Whether you identify yourself as Afro-Latin@ or Afro-Caribbean, we honor you for enriching our culture with intelligence, strength, and beauty. Here’s to mestizaje, bridge-building and a diverse and vibrant community!

For those of you in NYC, here is a list of events celebrating this month.

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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Join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health as we commemorate the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade with a happy hour featuring delicious Latin American wine and hors d’oeuvres. As we honor this milestone in the fight for women’s lives and health, we are also aware of how far we are from the promise of Roe. This event will be an opportunity for reproductive justice and rights advocates to gather and reflect on the struggle to ensure a world in which every woman is able to make her own decision free of danger, fear, and stigma.  Legalizing abortion was an important step forward. Join us in solidarity against the setbacks within the health care reform debate!

Date: Thursday, January 28, 2010
Time: 5:30-7:30pm
Location: Financial District, New York, New York 10004 (exact location of the event will be emailed to you separately)

Click Here to RSVP
by Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Contact Krystal Chan: intern7@latinainstitute.org or 212.422.2553

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It was 5:53 in the morning. The rain was pouring down, and the No. 6 train uptown was now ten minutes late. None of that mattered though, I was excited. I knew that in just a few hours I would be in a different city, completely, being an advocate for what I believe in. I was going to participate in a rally that would voice concerns over the Stupak-Pitts Amendment to Health Care. While representing NLIRH as an intern, and with other advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood, the Feminist Majority Foundation, NARAL, Advocates for Youth, NOW, the Hispanic Federation, Voces Latinas, the Pro-Choice Education Project, and countless others, I was going to stand up for women’s and reproductive rights.

The Stupak Amendment does not affect only women and people of color. As a man, I understand that my voice against human rights violations is just as important. My intersections of identity man, Latino, gay, Catholic — are all important in fighting for equality. Some people think that just because you’re a man, you can’t be a feminist. The truth is, I am a man AND I am a feminist. I have no place in taking away the human rights of a woman. That said, I will continue to fight these rights. The bus we took to D.C. We were all united for women’s rights, regardless of gender, race or age. (more…)

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I wouldn’t exactly call myself a morning person – but I was awake and ready to go, yesterday at 6:30 in the morning with a bus full of activists and a handful of coffee and snacks. We were on our way to Washington DC to lobby against the harmful and dangerous language in the Stupak Amendment to the House Health Care Bill. The bus was packed and the energy was good. On the bus – we did a quick Lobbying 101. We talked about our messaging; no one should be left behind in health care reform, not women, not immigrants, not Latinas, and not anyone else. We got to the capital ready to tell our senators and representatives that Stupak outrageously extends Hyde and it will hurt women, families and communities. (more…)

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Women and Immigrants are being left on the sidelines of health care reform, join us to protect the health and rights of Latinas and their families!

Are you in the Tri-State area?

Join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), along with other groups, in DC on Wednesday, December 2nd. We’ll participate in a rally/press conference and lobby Congress to pass a health care reform bill that protects the health and rights of women and immigrants.

The trip is FREE OF CHARGE and we will provide snacks and drinks on the bus. The bus will leave as early as 6:00 am from NYC and we will return that night.

RSVP to Stephanie Alvarado, Stephanie@latinainstitute.org or 212-422-2553 by Wednesday, November 25th and make sure to include your cell phone number. We will then confirm your spot on the bus and provide you with further details. Don’t miss this opportunity to join thousands of people in support of real health care reform!

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Two weeks ago I attended the Sister Song Conference in Washington DC. The conference brought together organizations working on reproductive justice. While the common thread amongst them was reproductive justice, groups were represented who work to promote HIV awareness, advocate for reproductive rights, and the connections between environmental justice and its role in reproductive health.

Saturday’s events were kicked off by an amazing performance. Then SisterSong’s national staff introduced themselves and warmly welcomed the members. Several sessions followed, including an update on Obama’s year in office and an activity on self-help. Reminders of the support that existed in that were room were mentioned, reinforcing that the organizations were there to inspire and empower each other.

Several things caught my eye that weekend. The all-gender bathrooms were one of them. It was a great way to set the standard of tolerance and remove any potential judgment. This created an environment that allowed us to embrace the diversity that existed among us. During the conference, free HIV testing was also offered. I appreciated this opportunity because it was a perfect example of people taking action to provide themselves with necessary resources that are not always available to many.

Because of the timing of the conference, which happened to fall on the day that health care reform was being debated in the House of Representatives, a last minute advocacy plan was put together. Everyone on the SisterSong staff organized the most effective way to speak with our representatives on Capitol Hill.  350 women of color and allies in attendance headed over to the Hill to talk to key offices. It was a powerful site. At the end of the night we were not able to beat the Stupak Amendment, but we showed a strong presence on the Hill that evening.

Overall, I learned a lot in those two days. I was reminded that despite living in the same country, everyone does not receive the same rights that they are entitled to. Several people shared their stories of personal reproductive injustice. One man summarized the numerous injustices that occurred against women in his town. This conference in general was a continuous reminder or the importance of education. By educating both men and women we can protect our current obtained reproductive rights and gain many more that we deserve. Knowledge is power and without it no one can progress.

By Elizabeth Rivera, Research Intern

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Women and Immigrants should not be worse off as a result of health care reform!

We cannot afford to not take action! Take this opportunity to educate yourself and your community around the recent events surrounding Health Care Reform.

What: A virtual cafecito (informal discussion over coffee) to discuss the latest on Health Care Reform and how you can immediately get involved hosted by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Why: While health care reform passed a hurdle in the House of Representatives, women and immigrants were left on the sidelines. Congress included an amendment that singled out and banned most abortions from all public and private health plans in the insurance exchange. They also continue to have a 5 year ban for legal permanent residents to participate in public health programs.  In order to ensure adequate access and coverage for all we must educate and organize our communities to take action to ensure that our needs remain front and center as health care reform advances.

When: Wednesday November 18, 2009 at 5:30pm EST

Where: It’s virtual (on the phone)! So bring your cafecito (coffee), and we will provide the call-in information.

Please reply to Stephanie@latinainstitute.org if you are interested in participating ASAP, and we will respond with the call information and materials.

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