Archive for the ‘Take Action’ Category

Stop the rollback of women’s rights in health care reform

Last week, sixty of you joined us for our cafecito to discuss contraception in health care reform. We told you that your voices would be crucial in this fight. Now is the time to take action.

Not only do we need to make sure that contraception is covered as preventative care, but now we also need to push for a lifting of the ban on abortion coverage for women with pre-existing conditions.

Last week the Department of Health and Human Services and the Obama Administration decided to keep women at the margins of health care reform implementation by voluntarily imposing abortion coverage restrictions to women who need it the most, women in high-risk pools. The Administration was also silent on whether or not family planning will be included as a basic preventative care service. We cannot stand idly by as our access to reproductive health care services continue to be rolled back!

Please join us in taking action.

We have two crucial actions today:

1. Demand that contraception be covered as preventative care!

Click here to send a letter to your representatives urging them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter that will be circulated by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representatives Jan Schakowsky and Lois Capps.

The letter asks them to support comprehensive family planning services that includes contraception as a key women’s health service under the Women’s Health Amendment.

2. Tell the White House: No abortion coverage restrictions for women with pre-existing conditions

Click here to send a letter to President Obama demanding that he lift the ban on abortion coverage for women with pre-existing conditions.

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As midterm elections approach, now is the time to remind the Administration of the promises they made to the immigrant community two years ago. This upcoming Sunday, March 21, thousands of people from all over the nation will fly, drive, and walk to Washington D.C. to march for immigration reform. March for America, organized by Reform Immigration for America, is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm with an Interfaith Prayer Service on the National Mall.

We will march on Washington, DC to demand immigration reform and economic justice for all Americans. Our vision of reform includes immigrants and native-born U.S. citizens working shoulder to shoulder to achieve better wages, working conditions, and labor protections, and of an American that’s back to work, with a fair balance between main street and wall street.

Staff from the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and other members of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights (NCIWR) will be at the event handing out posters, pins and other information. To find us, just come to the corner of 12th and Madison Street on the North side of the National Mall.

Want to know more about why we march? Don’t know how to get around on the nation’s capital? No problem! NCIWR has developed a tool kit with all this information and more helpful hints for you to make the most out of the march. To access it, go to this page on NCIWR’s website.  There you will also be able to download the posters and other advertising documents to hand-out and/or to bring with you to March of America.

See you there, and please spread the word!

By Tatjana Guadalupe, DC Policy Intern

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Last week, Obama hosted a Health Care Reform Summit. NLIRH has the details on what went down, and where our communities are in the newest version of the plan:

While the summit demonstrated the President’s commitment to seeing health care reform passed, the Republicans continued to urge Congress and the Administration to ‘start all over’. While there was very little dialogue on the issues that NLIRH has been advocating, such as abortion access, coverage for citizens of Puerto Rican and inclusion of immigrant families, there was some discussion on how health reform could benefit women.

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter offered an impassioned speech about the need to get rid of pre-existing conditions and other discriminatory practices that disproportionately impact women. The Republican also ticked off a list elements of the legislation that they didn’t agree with and falsely noted that the health care bill will provide federal funding for abortion. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi corrected this falsehood in her closing statement.

For more analysis of the President’s Health Care Summit, please check out the Raising Women’s Voices Blog.

It’s not too late to tell your Representatives in Congress what’s important to you in the health care reform debate.

Click here to take action.

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If you don’t have enough evidence to charge someone criminally but you think he’s illegal, we can make him disappear.

–James Pendergraph, then Executive Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of State and Local Coordination, at a conference of police and sheriffs in August 2008.

This quote is from The Nation article on the existence of 186 secret ICE detention centers. The lack of an accurate database of detainee information as well as governmental oversight allows for cover-ups, the continuation of detainee abuse and secret detention centers, is how ICE makes people “disappear.”

According to the article, the purpose of these secret jails is to hold detainees that are in transit between detention centers; these spaces are not meant to be used as living facilities and lack basic necessities such as beds, showers, adequate ventilation and heating, personal hygiene supplies and are often filled to capacity. It has been reported that up to 30% of all ICE detainees are held in these unofficial detention centers and that the private contractors who run them make a profit of $60-90 a day per detainee.

Since these private, make-shift prisons are completely unmarked and unlisted they are not only exempt from ICE standards but inaccessible to lawyers and family members searching for loved ones. Their locations, which ICE refuses to disclose, vary from suburban business complexes and storage warehouses to units in trendy Manhattan neighborhoods.

The use of secret prisons, withholding of due process and abuse of undocumented citizens is unconstitutional, yet has remained the core of the U.S. immigration system since the Bush administration and now under the Obama administration.

For more information about these detention centers and to take action, please visit the Detention Watch Network and Human Rights Watch.

By Marcela Villa, Former Policy Intern

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As the world already knows, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti yesterday afternoon near Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city of the country. The earthquake, the strongest to hit Haiti in more than 200 years, devastated the 2 million people who live in and near the capital. According to some reports, the death toll could possibly run between 100,000 to 500,000…and untold numbers are still trapped. But, 80% of Haiti’s 9 million residents were already desperately poor, and after years of political instability, the country had no real construction standards to begin with. Tens of thousands of families lost their homes as buildings that were “flimsy and dangerous even under normal conditions” collapsed in the earthquake. As Edwidge Danticat, the award-winning Haitian-American author said, “Life is already so fragile in Haiti, and to have this on such a massive scale, it’s unimaginable how the country will be able to recover from this.”


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Check out this short video clip of NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez speaking at the Stop Stupak Rally in Washington, DC on December 2nd!

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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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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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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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Esmeralda: A Transgender Detainee Speaks Out from Breakthrough on Vimeo.

For Esmeralda, being a transgender woman in Mexico was hard enough, but nothing could have prepared her for her experience after being placed in a US detention center. Seeking refuge from the discrimination she had encountered in her homeland, the last place she thought she would encounter the same discrimination was in the very place she was seeking help and compassion. During her time in a US detention center, she was forced to use the washroom in handcuffs, forced to live in isolation without time for recreation, and was forced to perform sexual activities with a male guard. After being treated unjustly for being transgender she started having suicidal thoughts and pleaded to be able to see someone who could help her. After a few months of being ignored and treated inhumanely, she decided to cancel her asylum request and return to Mexico, where life would be better than the harsh circumstances she was facing in the detention center.

Knowing the difficulties and discrimination she would face, Esmeralda found the courage to come back to the US and file for asylum once again. This time she was held in a detention center for men, and frequently feared for her life. However, she was soon granted asylum and now Esmeralda is an advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.

For many women seeking to come to the US in search of a better life for themselves and their family, Esemralda’s story is too familiar. Many women are forced to tolerate verbal and physical abuse and are denied medical attention and visitation rights. These women are sisters, daughters, and mothers forced to be treated inhumanely. We must demand justice for them and countless other who face this brutal reality. Join us in asking congress to restore fairness today!

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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