Archive for the ‘Take Action’ Category

By Rosario Quiroz, Community Mobilization Intern

Deputy Director Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas speaks at the Saturday Rally

Reproductive rights are under attack, with federal funding for family planning via Planned Parenthood at it’s center. We need to respond with urgency to this matter. About six thousand people definitely felt that urgency on Saturday afternoon in Foley Square, NYC, where we rallied to make sure that their voices are heard and that the message is clear–we’re not going to let our reproductive health care go down without a fight. Planned Parenthood and other clinics that receive Title X money make STD testing affordable and provides around 2.5 million women with contraceptives thus preventing many unplanned pregnancies. Planned Parenthood also provides over a million cervical cancer screenings and over 800,000 breast exams annually, detecting cancers at an early enough stage and keeping those cancers from claiming lives.

An attack on Planned Parenthood is, as President of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America Cecile Richards said, “a war on women’s health, and it must stop.” Planned Parenthood provides services to just under 5 million individuals; the debilitating effects that the proposed federal cuts would have on the 800 clinics nationwide are particularly dangerous for low and middle-income women and women of color, who oftentimes may not otherwise have access to the vital services that Planned Parenthood provides.


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By Myra Guevara, Research Intern

When I heard that the House of Representatives passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood and other clinics that receive Title X funding, my heart dropped. I am one of the hundreds of thousands of women that reach out to Planned Parenthood. Currently undergoing treatment, I worry about how I will pay if all of a sudden Planned Parenthood drops off the face of the map. Wild thoughts popped into my head and desperation soon set in as I learned more about the seriousness of the issue, until I heard about the Rally for Women’s Health. Relieved that community organizers, movers and shakers are behind this movement I quickly sent an RSVP.

The new proposal that has passed in the House of Representatives is supposedly part of a larger effort to reduce government spending and reduce the federal deficit. Those of us who know better know that it is actually part of the wider anti-woman agenda dominating the House right now. This budget fight is no joke–if the Senate and House cannot agree on a budget by March 4th we’re facing a government shutdown.

All the arguments in favor of cutting spending to Planned Parenthood focus solely on abortion services, but federal funding does not pay directly for any abortion services as per the Hyde Amendment. These funding cuts really target extremely important preventative health care services like pap smears, breast cancer screenings, and access to birth control. Pap smears are known to reduce the risk of cervical cancer, similarly with breast cancer screening. Plus, further limiting access to birth control and emergency contraception will only increase the rate of unintended pregnancies. These services actually save us money in health care costs in the long run. This is really just short-sighted politicking, not fiscal responsibility.

Like me, some of you may be feeling overwhelmed, angry, or defeated. How can we fight those in power? It seems like the people running this country are against me, against all women, attacking us. There is something you can do–make your voices heard. Send a message, loud and clear, to our Representatives that we aren’t okay with putting women’s lives on the budget chopping block. Attend the Rally for Women’s Health! If you’re in NYC, go to Foley Square on Saturday February 26 from 1pm-3pm in NYC and join women like Gloria Steinem, Gloria Feldt, and Loretta Ross to stand up for women’s rights. Our own Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas will be speaking as well.

It’s not just an opportunity for those in NYC. A Walk for Choice has been organized in Washington DC for Saturday at 12pm as well, and there are joint events happening all over the US in over 49 cities. Check out this website to find the activities in your city. Contact your local organizers if you do not see your city on the list, or if you need more information on the walking paths and locations designated for this cause. It takes two minutes to sign up and only two hours of your day. Be a part of a historic event, have your voice heard, and take action!

We hope to see you there!

For more information:




By Myra Guevara, Research Intern

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The new leadership in Congress has set out a very dangerous agenda and the health, dignity and rights of women and immigrants are particularly threatened.

First in the order of priorities for the new Congress is to repeal the landmark health care reform legislation passed in March of last year.

While the law is not perfect, the fact remains that it stands to vastly increase health insurance coverage in the country.  From the expansion of Medicaid services for low-income persons to the increase in funding to Community Health Centers, Latinas stand to benefit greatly from the health care law.

We cannot afford to lose the progress we were able to make with the Affordable Care Act.

Please contact your Representative NOW! The vote is scheduled for as early as today in the House of Representatives.

Click here to send your Representative an email, or contact the House switchboard directly at (202) 224-3121.

Tell your Representative to vote AGAINST any measures to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

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Season’s Greetings from the Board and Staff at NLIRH!

As you know, NLIRH is the only national Latina health and reproductive justice organization representing an increasingly diverse and growing Latina population in this country.

Sixteen years after the organization’s founding, we continue to transform the discourse on reproductive health disparities by linking public policy advocacy with grassroots leadership development, research, community organizing, and activism.

We have had our most amazing year yet! Please help us continue this momentum by making a tax-deductible donation to NLIRH.

A few of this year’s accomplishments include:

Please show your support by making a donation to NLIRH today.  Your gift will provide financial stability to NLIRH, ensure the success of our programs, and help us achieve salud, dignidad y justiciaMake your gift online or you can mail your check to: “Development Department, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, 50 Broad Street, Suite 1937, New York, NY 10004.”

Thank you in advance for your generous support and involvement!


Silvia Henriquez, Executive Director Berta Colón, Chair, Board of Directors
Silvia Henriquez
Executive Director
Berta Colón
Chair, Board of Directors

P.S.  Please consider making a gift of $10, $15 or $25 per month through our automatic monthly-giving program!

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National Coming Out Day was this past Monday, October 11. It is a day that fosters awareness and strives toward a world where everyone can be open about who they are, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It is for people who support equality and want to promote justice for our community.

This year, National Coming Out Day has tragically been marked by a string of suicides, where teens who have been bullied and harassed to the point where they feel that they have no other options. These young people are Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Billy Lucas, Justin Aaberg, Jaheem Herrera, Eric Mohat, Carl Hoover and Raymond Chase who in one way or another had been isolated and persecuted because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sexual and gender identity issues need to be discussed openly, and we all need to become a support system for people who are trying to come out. It is a point of transition that is difficult to put into words and it is not made easier by harsh peer harassments and mistreatment. Even if you don’t identify yourself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer person, ask how you can become an ally.

“This is a moment where every one of us — parents, teachers, students, elected officials and all people of conscience — needs to stand up and speak out against intolerance in all its forms.” – NY Times

For more info on National Coming Out Day check out Human Rights Campaign’s website.

By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

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Colorlines and the Applied Research Center have started an awesome new campaign called Drop the I-Word, pushing the media and elected officials to stop calling immigrants “illegal” or “illegals.”

We at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health don’t believe any person is illegal and don’t use that language. Will you join us in dropping the I-word?

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By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

What is activism in the Age of Obama? I was recently asked that question, and it recalled for me one of the messages that the President left us with after the election. He told us that change is now in our hands. He called us to action, he told us that as activists we have to continue doing our part.

During these first years of the Obama administration many of our expectations have fallen short. The recent failure of the DREAM Act is one of those disappointments. We need to reinvigorate our activist spirits within ourselves and move forward the agenda that we seek. From the One Nation team:

We face serious challenges, including: a deepening jobs crisis caused in part by a bubble economy of low wages and exploitative credit. We continue to struggle with a broken immigration system; crumbling infrastructure; too many failing public schools that help some, but not all, children; increased levels of division and discrimination; economic and energy peril; and environmental catastrophe. And, in this time of crisis, too many voices offer only a choice between doing nothing, and turning against one another.

Nevertheless, it is up to us to continue the struggle and mobilization necessary to enact the changes that we yearn for. How can you be part of this movement you might be asking yourself? Well, One Nation is offering you a concrete way..

On Saturday, October 2, 2010, they are organizing a march. One Nation Working Together is a national coalition of over 300 progressive organizations headed by the NAACP, National Council of La Raza, and the AFL-CIO. They are bringing thousands of people out to demand the change that we voted for in 2008. National Latina Institute will also be present at the march in coalition with NCIWR, advocating for justice and distributing information about our efforts.

One Nation believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. So on the 2nd, we march for secure jobs and a safe work environment, a living wage, immigration reform, access to affordable health care, quality education and an environmentally just world built and sustained by renewable energy.

I highly encourage all the change makers at heart to attend, and have your voices heard. Join up and learn more here.

By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

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Letters from South Texas activist about the DREAM act

1800 letters signed by activists in South Texas in support of the DREAM act. They are being delivered today to the Senate offices!

By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

Latinos are rallying support of the DREAM Act which would hopefully grant a pathway to citizenship for thousands of Latino youth who have been here for most of their lives.

I was in Washington D.C this summer when 12 DREAM activists were arrested in a peaceful protest in front of the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The arrests sent a message to politicians that these students have reached the end of the line and that they want action now. With increasing national support from various organizations you would think that the DREAM Act would have more support from Congress. But nothing is ever as easy as it looks, and the DREAM Act has faced many barriers to get passed.

We’ll know in just a few hours if DREAM will move forward, and activists have been pushing hard these last few days in preparation for today’s vote.

Even Senator Harry Reid has said he’s not sure that he has the 60 votes that it needs. It is a hard issue to navigate through because our communities want some type of reform, and we have been advocating for many years a change in our immigration system. In realizing our own strength, that our Latino vote has become a powerful tool, we should use it to our advantage. So hopefully the DREAM Act is passed, and we continue with our activism in also passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform. All the way from California, Texas, Chicago and New York, young activist have been rallying demanding for change, sending thousands of letters, calling politicians, and organizing marches to make sure their voices are heard. Are you doing the same?

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The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act is a bill that would allow young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States before they turned 16 a path to U.S. citizenship, and it will be up for a vote next week!

Young people who have lived in the United States for at least five years would be able to apply for conditional permanent residency and complete two years of higher education or military service, giving them access to a green card and eventual U.S. citizenship.  Conditional permanent residency would also give students the opportunity to be eligible for federal financial aid, currently an insurmountable barrier for many undocumented immigrants trying to go to college.

NLIRH supports the DREAM Act, but we are also concerned because of the relationship the military has had historically with communities of color.  Given the history of the U.S. military’s coercive recruiting practices among low-income young people and young people of color, we are concerned that, instead of a measure that allows low-income Latina youth to seek higher education with the promise of new opportunities, undocumented immigrant Latina youth will be coerced into military service by the promise of citizenship without being fully informed about the education-to-citizenship option.  Despite some of our concerns, NLIRH sees this bill as a critical first step towards advancing comprehensive immigration reform.

We need you to urge your Senator to support the DREAM Act, and demand that Latinas be presented with both the military and school options equally weighted, as well as be made aware that the minimum years of duty required upon enlisting exceed the two years necessary to gain legal permanent residency.  We must also demand adequate protections so that enlisted immigrant women do not jeopardize their legal status if they bring a claim of sexual assault or rape against their superiors.

This bill provides a much-needed route to lawful citizenship to the country many immigrant young people call home – contact your Senator today, and demand that we do this the right way!

Click here to send your Senator an email, or call the Senate switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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Latina Week of Action for RJ logo

It’s been a busy year. From health care reform to immigration enforcement and the national dialogue about young motherhood, we’ve been going non-stop in 2010.

We’ve raised our voices on many issues that matter to Latina’s, and our work continues. As we move into the mid-term elections in November, it’s more crucial than ever that Latinas and our allies speak out about the issues that matter to us.

That’s why the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights have teamed up to host the First Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice on August 9-15.

There will be a blog carnival focused on the issue of contraception with some amazing Latina bloggers, online conversations each day on facebook and twitter and ways to get involved all week.

Stay tuned for more information about how you can join us and get involved with this National Week of Action.

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