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Two weeks ago our National Field Organizer Stephanie Alvarado had the opportunity to speak at the Undocumented and Unafraid Rally in Union Square. Her powerful words were condemning the actions of people who stigmatize undocumented youth. Yet there was optimism within the crowd, and a fervor that showed that these young folks were not about to give up. “While the DREAM Act may have died on Capitol Hill, our voices remain strong,” said Stephanie.

There were 19 students sharing their story. They told of how they did not let the hopelessness or fear stop them from accomplishing their goals. Being undocumented was a hurdle that they didn’t let stop them, but unfortunately not everyone is as lucky. The rally was important for talking about the thousands of students who drop out of school because they don’t see a future. Having an education is one of the most important things for Latinas. “Educational attainment is one way that Latinas can have access to information, resources and services that will help them make informed and autonomous decisions, enhancing their central role in their families and communities,” said Stephanie.

Partnering with the New York State Youth Leadership Council we have an opportunity to change statistics and empower Latino kids in our communities. It is amazing to see the bravery of the students have direct result in the policy agenda for New York State. A couple of days after the rally, State Senator Bill Perkins introduced the New York DREAM Act. To qualify for the benefits of DREAM such as financial aid, work authorization, and pathway to citizenship, the young person must have arrived to the United States before the age of 16, be under the age of 35, have resided in New York State for at least two years, have obtained a high school diploma or GED equivalent from an American institution and have good moral character.

I believe this is our chance to show the rest of America how powerful the young Latino voice can be. And contrary to states like Arizona, where harmful anti-immigrant laws have been dominating, we can pass a bill that will help immigrant youth and help our state. As Stephanie said, we stand with the DREAMERS and will continue fighting for Salud, Dignidad, y Justicia!

By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern

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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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A street full of storefronts. On the second floor there is a large advertisement that says "Unplanned Pregnancy?" and a phone number.

Photo Credit: New York Times

 

On Tuesday, October 12, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health announced its support for a piece of legislation in New York City that would require crisis pregnancy centers, or limited-service pregnancy centers, to disclose on all signage and advertising that they do not provide contraception or abortion services, or referrals to either.  The legislation would also require the centers to disclose if they do not have a licensed medical provider on site, and would hold them to the same confidentiality standards as licensed medical centers.

Crisis pregnancy centers are often innocuously labeled: “Pregnant?  Need Help?”  What many of these signs do not say is that these centers have an explicit anti-choice agenda, and often spread misinformation about abortion, such as the outdated and clinically-disproved claim that abortion increases risk of breast cancer.  The bill follows an investigation by NARAL Pro-Choice New York, who released a report documenting the tactics of these centers.

NLIRH’s own Senior Policy Analyst, Verónica Bayetti Flores, was interviewed in Spanish by Telemundo regarding this story. Read the story here, or watch here.

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On May 20, 2010, the Ms. Foundation for Women honored 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.  Feminist icon, Gloria Steinem presented the award to Silvia.  Take a look at a video, produced by the Ms. Foundation, that highlights some of the critical reproductive justice work NLIRH has accomplished under Silvia’s leadership.

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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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