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Posts Tagged ‘health’

Being a woman in Texas, and across the country, is a battle. We are getting attacked on all sides. Everyone seems to know what is best for us to do with our bodies. Our decisions and our health isn’t respected, valued or supported. Enough is enough. Women are fighting back. Latinas are fighting back, especially in Texas.

The Rio-Grande Valley is one of the poorest areas of our country. Prior to 2011, the women of this region depended on state-funded clinics for healthcare and family planning services. This isn’t just contraceptives, but cancer screenings, pap smears, and more. And then everything changed. 2011 was also the year that the state legislature passed one of the most destructive budgets in state history. [x]

This budget punished Texas clinics by defunding all who were affiliated with abortion providers, even if they didn’t provide abortions. Many other states are also doing the same. The number of women receiving services in the Rio-Grande Valley was reduced by 75% after the cuts. [x]

What ACTUALLY happens when states cut back and defund public clinics simply for being associated with abortion providers? What are the real consequences of these actions? Who is actually affected? Does defunding clinics eliminate abortions? No. Instead of moving forward and bettering the lives of others, we are stepping back in time. Where there is a demand, someone will supply it, even if that means lives are at risk. What these cuts did was hand women hangers, the same hangers that took so many lives in the past. What these cuts do is separate families, create fear, and increase health issues especially because the incidence of cervical cancer in Texas is 19% higher than the national average [x]. Families in Texas, and across the United States, are already dealing with immigration issues, poverty wages, exploitation, food desserts, and these cuts aren’t making lives any easier. Take a moment to remember that not everyone has access to health services during the same time many are rejoicing over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Do something about it!

Workers lose their jobs due to cuts.
After the cuts, Paula Saldaña lost her job as a community educator for a Planned Parenthood clinic in Brownsville, Texas. She continues to give workshops on reproductive health as a volunteer. In the video below, Paula shares her experiences out in Texas and the frustration she feels about the cuts.

Families are torn apart
Adriana found herself crossing the border back and forth to receive health services in Mexico, until the violence at the border increased. Her family has been split up due to deportations. She suffers with health issues, and the uncertainty of not being able to take proper care of herself as she raises her two grand-kids. Not being able to take proper care of herself leaves her family in a very vulnerable place; especially because Adriana is the sole provider for her family in the United States. Adriana shares her experiences below.

In late 2012 and early 2013, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health documented the impact of state funding cuts to family planning services on women in Texas and created a human rights report. The report and information about this partnership can be found at Nuestro Texas. The report draws from the stories of women in Texas to show how funding cuts to women’s preventive services are more than failed policies—they are violations of their human rights.

Read the Nuestro Texas report here
Like Nuestro Texas on Facebook
Follow Nuestro Texas on Twitter

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Hace más de una semana, tuvimos nuestro Día Nacional de Acción para la reforma de inmigración y salud. Nuestro grupo en Texas tubo un evento y esta es la experiencia de una de las líderes.


Red de Abogacía de Latinas de Texas
“Apoyando la eliminación de la prohibición de los 5 años y que las opciones de servicios de salud para los aspirantes a ciudadanos sean mejoradas”

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2 de Mayo del 2013 – Día Nacional de Acción – Gracias al departamento de Relaciones Políticas de la Red de Abogacía de Latinas de Texas pudimos contactar a las dos Directoras Regionales del Sureste de Texas de los Senadores Ted Cruz y John Cornyn. Hablamos con Ana García (Southwest Texas Regional Director & Community Outreach Advisor – Senator John Cornyn) y Casandra Garcia (Southwest Texas Regional Director – Senator Ted Cruz).

Fue una maravillosa experiencia puesto que estas dos directoras estuvieron muy impactadas al recibir cerca de 300 cartas de peticiones en donde se les pide el apoyo para la eliminación de la prohibición de los 5 años. Tambien pedimos que las opciones de servicios de salud para los aspirantes a ciudadanos sean mejoradas.
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9 líderes conversamos con cada una de las directoras regionales por separado. El Senador Cruz aún no tiene oficina aquí en el Valle de Texas de Rio Grande entonces hablamos con Casandra Garcia en un restaurante. Una de nuestras líderes que vino a las visitas compartió con las directoras parte de su experiencia de ser deportada con su esposo a México. Por esto le secuestraron a su esposo y finalmente falleció. Las directoras quedaron muy impresionadas con su historia y prometieron apoyar la reforma migratoria y la salud de nuestras comunidades.

Fue un evento muy lindo y seguirmos luchando por la salud, dignidad y justicia de nuestra communidad!

Vives en Texas y quieres unirte a nosotros? Llama a la Coordinadora de la RAL de Texas Lucy C. Félix al (956) 579-1371 ó al correo electrónico: lucy@latinainstitute.org.

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By: Dian Alarcon

Mil gracias por todo el apoyo y enseñanzas en esta semana de abogacía. Realmente fue una experiencia enriquecedora. No importa cuántas veces la hagas siempre es una experiencia nueva que te enseña el poder que tiene tu voz. Aunque solo seas uno, es como el cardumen de peces, si esta solo es más fácil que un depredador se lo pueda comer pero cuando está acompañado por miles o cientos de peces, los depredadores piensan que eres un animal demasiado grande y poderoso para atacarlo y desisten de comerlos.
Latina_Institute 231
Para mí la mayor reflexión esta semana es que cuando trabajamos ordenadamente en equipo, con pasión y todas con el mismo enfoque logramos llevar nuestro mensaje de Salud, Dignidad y Justicia más allá de nuestras fronteras.

NLIRH hizo un ejemplo de trabajo en equipo, muy ordenadas y cada una sabiendo cual era su roll en esta semana. Soy muy observadora y de todo me gusta aprender así que de cada instante que pasamos tantas mujeres poderosas juntas aprendí algo. Cada una tiene sus talentos y hay que saber descubrirlos y ponerlos a trabajar a favor de nuestras metas.

De los medíos de comunicación aprendí el gran poder que tiene y que es importante aprender a manipularlos para nuestra conveniencia. Aprendí que también tenemos que cuidar nuestro mensaje para que no lo editen en nuestra contra.

Trabajar en equipo con todas las organizaciones nos hace más fuertes.

Un Abrazo para tod@s y gracias por todos sus cuidados.


More reflections of our 2013 National Advocacy Weekend

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We mobilized over 50 activists from all around the country for our 2013 National Advocacy Weekend which took place from March 15-March 19 in Washington DC. Below is a video that highlights our experiences at NAW 2013.

Here is a reflection from one of the NAW participants:

I’m Christina from Boston, Massachusetts. I want to start off and say Thank You to everyone at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health for giving me the opportunity to attend the 2013 National Advocacy Weekend for the first time. Thank you for allowing me to have a first-hand account on what real lobbying is like.

Prior to lobbying on March 18, 2013 for Immigrant Women’s Healthcare, Immigration Reform and Affordable Abortion Access, I had only participated in drop off visits. I never fully experienced lobbying for a cause that is dear to me. I felt very excited to be there, even if at times my energy was a bit off. I want to thank everyone in the Massachusetts and New York lobbying group as well. They helped me speak to the Senators and helped me feel less nervous.

Photo taken by Selena Torrado

Photo taken by Selena Torrado


The rally prior to lobbying impacted me too. I’ve been to a march, but not a rally. I loved the way all the organizations fighting for immigrant women’s healthcare access and equal rights were helping each other.

During National Advocacy Weekend, I got to meet so many passionate and strong men and women from across the country who are fighting for reproductive rights, immigrant rights and LGBTQ’s rights. I was the only person from Massachusetts and the Texas group took me under their wing. I’m very grateful for being in an environment which taught me that I can do things even if it takes time.

During National Advocacy Weekend, Laura Esquivel, NLIRH board member, shared her story with us. It hit close to home. She spoke about attending community college and that there were people along the way to help her finish.

The Camino Media Academy, where we participated in mock interviews helped me get a taste of how the media works and how to deliver my message better. I also remember the Intercultural Productions workshop that taught me that you can create your own film via a smart phone. Lucy Felix’s presentation on how to start a group in your state helped a lot. Even though it was in Spanish, I could understand it and translate it. I loved the wall of victory we created as a community.

Wall of Victory at NAW

The victory I shared was that I’m learning how to balance health with my other responsibilities. I have been going back and forth on how to balance my Celiac Disease with my passion for reproductive rights for a while. But, now I know that I can combine both when it comes to the food and environmental injustice we face. All women regardless of income, disability, age, race, gender, orientation, religion, should be able to have good quality food and a holistic nutrition. We should all be able to control our bodies, minds, and spirits.

Again, I want to thank you to everyone and of course to NLIRH for allowing me to be part of my first NAW weekend :)!


Si Se Puede!

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After various conference calls, meetings and emails, our annual Week of Action took place from August 6-10 with the theme Soy Poderosa. Activists from all over the country took pictures of themselves with our poderosa signs filled with messages of strength, support and love. There were events held in various areas of the country to advocate for the reproductive health and justice of Latinas.

Activist says why she is a poderosa

Ms. New York says why she is a poderosa

We were able to reach thousands of poderosas through our blog, Facebook, twitter and email lists as well as through our Latina Advocacy Networks, who tabled and hosted several health fairs in different parts of their states. Latinas are fired up and willing to continue pressuring their governors until the Affordable Care Act is implemented in their states. Latinas will keep educating the community and providing support to Latinas all around the United States, like these activists in Texas who held over 5 health fairs in different areas.

Activists in Texas hold health fairs

Karen Guzman, our policy intern, at a briefing in DC

Actions like the ones that took place during this Week of Action are important in order to highlight the stories of those most affected by the lack of health resources. Many times, we drown in reproductive health statistics without realizing that these numbers are actual people, someone’s mother, daughter, sister or aunt. It is important to take back our stories and own our struggles. By telling sharing those struggles, we build a sense of community and unity with others who may not know you, but share your same values and ideas. It is important, not only to share our stories but to know our rights as well. Adahelia, one of our activists from New York, shares similar ideas, and has the following message for Latinas everywhere:

“Know your rights, all of them, from human, woman, immigrant, resident to citizen rights. Remember that being ignorant limits you and the decisions you make in regards to the different aspects of your entire life, not just your physical and emotional health. We must take responsibility over our own body and knowing our rights will have a huge impact on our lives. When we are educated and informed, it does not only affect us, but it also impacts the lives of our family, friends, partners and children.”

We want to thank all the poderosas who took part in our Week of Action by sending pictures, flyering on campus or simply writing a blog post, your courage and dedication is what keeps us motivated. Even though the Week of Action is over, the energy and need for relief is still present. We hope you can join us and be a part of the actions that are happening next. To stay up to date visit our website and sign up for updates.

In the struggle,

The NLIRH Community Mobilization Team

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