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Last week, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health celebrated its Quinceañera at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. As an intern for NLIRH as well as a west coast native, I was very excited to attend this momentous occasion in our nation’s capital. The night began with the VIP reception featuring fancy hors d’oeuvres, plenty of white sangria, and live music provided by Mariachi Los Amigos. After plenty of mingling and picture posing, we finally moved to the main room where I encouraged many of the guests to participate in our silent auction while trying to make my way towards the food. The chefs at Café Atlantico and Oyamel gave everyone’s taste buds a little piece of heaven with all of their delicious creations. My favorite was the ceviche martinis, which not only looked and sounded delicious, but were jam packed with flavor!  The night had officially begun with an opening slide show and speech from our Director, Silvia Henriquez. We soon met our mistress of ceremonies, Maria Hinojosa, who was entertaining, enthusiastic, and had the entire room laughing in two seconds.

However, the highlight of my night was the award ceremony. Gloria Moreno, Maria Luisa Sanchez Fuentes, and Maria-Teresa Kumar (representing VotoLatino) delivered powerful speeches after receiving their awards for SALUD, DIGNIDAD, and JUSTICIA respectfully. Their words left me in tears, but also motivated me to get back to the office and continue contributing in the reproductive justice movement.  The night continued with the presentation of the silent auction winners followed by café con leche and some delicious pastries! Although the night was winding down, I could not help but wish it would never end. But alas it did, and I ended my night and my first trip to our nation’s capital with a moonlit stroll down the front of the White House back to my hotel. As I recapped all the events of the night, I could not help but feel very privileged and thankful to have the opportunity not only to attend this wonderful event, but also to be working for such an amazing organization run by powerful, intelligent, and beautiful women! Here’s to 15 years and many more prosperous ones to come!

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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Lin-ManuelMirandaLin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award winning composer and lyricist of In the Heights on Broadway, intimately understands the challenges facing Latinas and urges you to attend our Quinceañera on Wednesday, October 7th, at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC.

Listen to Lin-Manuel’s invitation to the quince here.

For more information on our Quince, visit: http://latinainstitute.org/quince.html.

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is turning 15! Will you be there to help us celebrate this milestone? Our Quinceañera (15th Anniversary) is less than two weeks away. The celebration is Wednesday, October 7th at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC. The event will begin at 7pm with music, Latin cuisine, and a silent auction that features $10,000 worth of items that you can bid on, including weekend getaways to NYC, DC, and Miami; a stunning Marc Jacobs Handbag; and tickets to see the Washington Redskins. Trust me, you do not want to miss out on the rest of the items.

After 15 years of being the first and only national Latina reproductive justice organization, NLIRH is excited to celebrate our accomplishments and rally support for the work ahead. Our mistress of ceremonies will be Maria Hinojosa of the critically acclaimed NPR show Latino USA.

We will also be recognizing three agents of social change who are making the world a better place for Latinas, their families, and their communities:

  • VotoLatino will receive our Justicia award because their unrelenting efforts in registering more than 35,000 new voters in 2008’s historical presidential election showed America how powerful Latin@s are when we mobilize our communities.
  • María Luisa Sánchez Fuentes, the Executive Director of GIRE, who led the successful campaign to decriminalize abortion in Mexico City, will receive our Dignidad award.
  • Gloria Moreno, a Promotora de Salud and a leader in the Texas Latina Advocacy Network will receive our Salud award because her groundbreaking local work to connect community organizing around health care reform and reproductive justice is actually affecting change nationwide.

Finally, the evening’s entertainment will include performances by the world-renowned Masacote Salsa Dance Company and Mariachi Los Amigos, the longest existing mariachi ensemble in the Washington, DC-area. Click here to see their performance at the Kennedy Center.

Don’t miss out! Click here for more information and to buy your tickets today. I hope to see you all there!

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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Every year, from September 15 to October 15, the U.S. recognizes the economic, cultural, and social contributions of the more than 47 million Latinos in the U.S. This month is geared towards celebrating Latinos’ culture, music, food, and entertainment. These dates include the Independence Day celebrations of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile, and incorporate Día de la Raza, a holiday celebrated in Mexico that observes the colonization, exploration, and multicultural heritage of the Americas.

At NLIRH, we understand and celebrate that we are part of a large advocacy movement, geared to serving all of these communities. As the nation’s first and only national Latina health and reproductive rights organization, we pride ourselves in representing the increasingly growing and diverse Latina population.

This year we are celebrating 15 years of community mobilization, advocacy, and education with a Quinceañera celebration. We would like you to celebrate with us Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, at the National Museum for Women in the Arts located in our nation’s capitol, Washington D.C. We hope you can join us for a fun-filled evening. We also hope that you enjoy Hispanic Heritage Month by attending many of the special events in your area!

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductve Health is partnering up with a variety of progressive groups and health reform activists in organizing a pro-health reform rally in Times Square on Saturday August 29th from 2pm-4pm.  We are making our voices and presence known to:

  • Protect the reproductive health of Latinas
  • Oppose bans on reproductive health care services, including abortion care, for all women
  • Stand with Latinas to ensure our access to comprehensive reproductive health care

Take action and demonstrate your commitment to health care reform that embraces a human rights approach to health care, ensuring that all health services are accessible, available, affordable, and of good quality for everyone!

We will meet before the rally outside Roosevelt Hospital (10th Avenue and 59th St in Manhattan) at 12pm to hear from women’s health leaders and healthcare providers. Then we step off together at 12:30 p.m. to walk to the rally in Times Square, demonstrating our support for health reform all the way!

Contact Stephanie at 212-422-2553 or email her at Stephanie@latinainstitute.org if you are interested in taking part! Please feel free to share with others that may be interested in attending the rally with NLIRH.

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Miami International Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (MI-LOLA), a member of NLIRH’s Latina Advocacy Network will be presenting at this event on Wednesday June 24, 2009:

The Domino Effect of Health Care Inequality

…because healthcare inequality affects more than just our health.

Hispanic women comprise 37% of the uninsured in the U.S. so our voices must be front and center in the healthcare reform debate.

Join the growing movement for healthcare reform in Florida to ensure our voices are heard.

Wednesday, June 24th
6:30 – 8:30 PM
Robert King High Towers
1405 NW 7th Street, Miami, FL

For more information, contact Rosemary Rivera at (585) 520-6542 or rosemary.rivera@hepny.org.

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We are excited to announce our third National Advocacy Weekend (NAW), which will be held on April 19-21, in Washington, D.C.

 

Over the course of three days, Latina Advocacy Network (LAN) activists will participate in advanced advocacy, campaign and lobbying trainings, as well as meet with their Congressional representatives. National Advocacy Weekend is a space for activists to network and connect with Latinas and Latinos from across the nation in an environment conducive to fostering national Latina movement-building.

 

At this year’s NAW, we will have the participation of over 20 Latina/o activists from over 9 states. One of the highlights of the weekend will be a breakfast on Tuesday at the Longworth House Office Building, which will be attended by Tina Tchen, Executive Director of the White House Council for Women and Girls and various Latina congressional staffers.

 

For more information on National Advocacy Weekend, or to find out more about our Latina Advocacy Networks please contact Maria Elena at mariaelena@latinainstitute.org.

 

-Bibiana Martinez, Community Mobilization Intern

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On April 1st, 2009, women and men gathered together at the Interchurch Center to share their experiences with the health care system in the country.  The conference gave women a sense of unity in a surrounding where they could speak about the difficulties they’ve encountered. 

 

One woman spoke on behalf of a 15-year old South African girl who was sexually assaulted.  At the hospital, she was frightened, and didn’t understand what a rape kit was and had no one there to explain it to her.  On top of that, when prescribed medication to prevent her from getting HIV, she was responsible for paying $2,000.00 for it.  As an immigrant, neither she nor her parents had health insurance.

 

Another woman who came from an indigenous area talked about the difficulties of not speaking English when she first came to the United States and the hardships she encountered when visiting doctors without a translator.  She also explained how others like her feared going to the doctor.  For example, her cousin delayed getting prenatal care until her 3rd trimester for this reason.  For the speaker, who became pregnant while in the U.S., she explained to the crowd how her doctor asked her, “Why didn’t you use protection?”  It is situations like these that make it harder for immigrants to seek the care that they need because they are uncomfortable.  No one deserves to be stereotyped when seeking health services.

 

During her speech she explained:

They [immigrants who don’t speak English] feel like they don’t have a voice.

Although no one should feel this way, this is the norm for many people with language barriers.

 

The speak out provided great insight as to how the health care system can fail women in this country.  Panelists, including Susan Wood and Byllye Avery expressed the need for fairness and access to all women.  Without it, women will continue to be at a disadvantage, putting their health in danger.

 

For information about the two day conference, click here.

 

-Angela Donadic, Policy and Advocacy Fellow

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If you’re in the DC area, come and join us for:

Abortion as a Matter of Reproductive Justice

Hosted by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, along with
The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum,
The Civil Liberties & Public Policy Program,
Generations Ahead and
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR)

Monday, January 26, 2009
6 PM – 8 PM
Bus Boys and Poets
1025 5th Street N.W. (at K St N.W.)
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 789-2227

Light refreshments will be provided

To RSVP contact Yasmine Rudolfo at Yasmine(AT)latinainstitute(DOT)org or 212-422-2553. You can also RSVP through our Facebook Event Page

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Event in Washington, DC tomorrow October 24th:

I hope you can join me and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health at this important march and vigil on Friday evening, October 24th. Each year a coalition of Latino community based organizations in DC unite to host this event in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

 

Because of the recent turn of events, building anti-immigrant sentiment and ceaseless raids on our community, the message of this year’s march is even more political. We are highlighting the fact that there are many forms of violence against women in our community, including institutional violence. The immigration policies and practices of late are a form of violence against immigrant women. We need to speak out and make clear that we will not stand for this.

 

The theme for this year’s march highlights this fact:

Las inmigrantes también tenemos derecho a un mundo sin violencia

Immigrant women also have the right to a world without violence

 

I hope you can join me and NLIRH at this important event. If you want to march with us, meet at 5:30 at the park at the intersection of 16th St and Harvard St NW (near Mt.Pleasant, Columbia Heights and Adams Morgan). We will be marching to Columbia Heights, and the vigil and rally will be held in front of the Target complex. You can join us there around 6:30 for speakers (including testimonies from survivors of domestic violence) and discussion followed by a candlelight vigil running until about 8pm.

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