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Posts Tagged ‘immigration reform’

By Jessica González-Rojas, executive director for National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH)

10155950_10152317414718416_6100789107688453464_nToday I’m going without food to demand fair immigration reform!

This week Destiny Lopez, board chair for NLIRH, and I are fasting in solidarity with our herman@s  from Women’s Fast for Families – a national project calling for fair immigration reform and an immediate end to deportations. By fasting with our allies across the country, we are trying to tap into the courage, compassion, and common sensibilities of our elected officials in order to encourage them to address our country’s flawed immigration policies and practices.

Under our current administration, approximately two million people have been deported, which has torn families apart and left countless children without their parents. The time is now for these practices to stop. Our elected officials need to work together to establish a new system that facilitates a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million aspiring U.S. citizens and recognizes the contributions and concerns of immigrant women.

Despite the struggles faced by immigrant women and families, this week’s fast comes at an optimistic time in which immigration and health policy intersect. Last month Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) introduced the Health Equity & Access Under the Law (HEAL) for Immigrant Women and Families Act (HR 4240) to Congress. This bill would remove political interference and restore coverage so immigrants can participate in the healthcare programs their tax dollars support. Since its introduction, the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act has been a top priority for NLIRH and our allies – many of whom are joining us in this week’s fast.

It’s my hope that our collective decision to fast will help highlight the urgent need for fair and compassionate immigration reform that recognizes the importance of health for immigrant women and families.

¡La lucha sigue!

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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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