Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

A red umbrella (symbol of sex workers' rights) and text underneath saying "International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers"

Today is the seventh annual Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers, and NLIRH would like to invite you to a free event we have co-sponsored with the Sex Workers’ Outreach Project of New York City and other fabulous organizations to commemorate the day.  Please join us to hear fabulous speakers, join a community speak-out, and remember those we have lost:


Metropolitan Community Church of New York

446 W 36th st (between 9th & 10th aves), New York, NY  10018

Ending violence against sex workers in particular, and sex workers’ rights in general, are matters of reproductive justice.  Some sex workers have specific health care needs that often go unmet because of the clandestine nature of their work, or the stigma faced at doctors’ offices; some are forced to work in unsuitable or unsafe conditions; and others work in environments where they are unable to organize for adequate wages.   Though much violence against sex workers is perpetuated by clients, it is important to recognize that the most common perpetrators of violence against sex workers are not clients at all, but governments:

Although the purported mission of governments who criminalize sex work is to abolish the industry, sometimes with overtones of rescue, in reality the laws punish sex workers and make their lives harder.

In fact, the criminalization of sex work disproportionately affects low-income women, women of color, immigrants and gender non-conforming persons, putting them at increased risk of deportation and violence within the criminal justice system.  And though much is said about women who are victims of sex trafficking, much less often is the issue of trafficking talked about as a matter of immigrant’s rights and global economic justice – the lack of which is the real problem behind all human trafficking.  Violence against sex workers is as much – if not more – about criminalization of sex work and oppression at the hands of the state as it is about violent clients.  The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is proud to support the rights and well-being of sex workers, and we hope you can join us at tonight’s event!


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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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NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez is being honored by the Ms. Foundation for Women with a Women of Vision award. Below is a message from the staff and board of NLIRH. Congrats Silvia!

We are thrilled to announce that the Ms. Foundation will be honoring 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.

Under Silvia’s leadership, NLIRH has become one of the organizations on the forefront of the reproductive health and justice movements for Latinas and immigrants.

Throughout the recent health care reform debates, NLIRH was one of the few organizations to openly demand full health care access, including abortion coverage, for all women and immigrants. We organized local advocates for outreach to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, headlined a national abortion rights lobby day in Washington, D.C., and solidified relationships with immigration rights coalitions to build support for upcoming reforms that recognize the reproductive health and rights of all women immigrants.

The Award Ceremony honoring Silvia’s leadership is being held on May 20th at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City. To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, visit this website.

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Understanding Health Care Reform

What: A virtual cafecito (informal discussion over coffee) to discuss the latest on Health Care Reform hosted by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Why: Health care reform was recently signed into law however, for Latinas, the result is a mixed-bag. Join us to learn about provisions that help and hurt women and immigrants, and the timeline for implementation of benefits. You will also hear about state based initiatives being proposed and how this can affect health care reform in your state.

When: Wednesday, April 7th at 12pm EST

Where: It’s virtual (on the phone)! So bring your cafecito (coffee), and we will provide the call-in information, upon registration. Please click here to register.

*Note: This same cafecito will be facilitated in Spanish at 1pm – a separate registration is required. Please click here to register for the Spanish cafecito.

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Two weeks ago, the Young Women’s Empowerment Project, a Chicago-based organization run by girls and women with experience in the sex trade and street economies, gave a talk at the CUNY Graduate Center.  This youth leadership organization, whose motto is “Girls do what they have to do to survive,” hosted the first event I’ve ever attended that stressed the resilience of young girls as opposed to their downtrodden status in society.

Having been to several conferences addressing the sex trade whose messages were couched in pity for the trafficked or coerced “victims,” I couldn’t help but smile when the members of YWEP insisted that these women and girls were capable of coping with and overcoming the stress of violence and did not need to be “saved from themselves.”  This emboldening message of harm reduction and social justice initiatives, coupled with the extensive report they compiled and presented – “A Participatory Action Research Study of Resilience and Resistance” – reminded audience members that young women and girls can conduct research and support one another through the worst of times.

While this message was certainly inspiring, some of the vocabulary YWEP employs was disconcerting.  For instance, while the organization promotes harm reduction as a component of resilience, it condones Self-Harm Resilience, defined as controlled self-injury and cutting, as a method for regulating one’s own body.  This could prove troubling to advocates of healthy coping mechanisms, but YWEP is rooted in the language of non-judgment and supports “unconventional” resilience strategies.

For those interested in supporting the efforts of YWEP, the organization has issued these requests: members are seeking the aid of trained medical professionals to teach them how to perform self-exams, since many young girls and women cannot afford to visit a hospital or are afraid that a member of the medical staff could turn them over to the authorities.  They asked that policymakers think through all aspects of proposed legislation to eliminate adverse effects to women and girls and to check abuse within the institutions – including police stations, foster-care centers, and medical centers – that often put them in more jeopardy.  I hope others encourage these girls and young women to keep fighting back and assuming responsibility for their own lives.

By Nicole Cata, Policy Intern

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Black History Month logo in black and pinkThis week marks the beginning of Black History Month.  During this month, we recognize the economic, historical, and social contributions made by the African American community. What started as “Negro History Week” in 1926, Black History Month has become recognized and widely celebrated on both a scholarly and commercial level since its official inception in 1976.

Here at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, we want to take this opportunity to honor the struggles and triumphs of the millions of African Americans who have changed our world, and who perhaps paved the way for other activists to continue the fight for human rights.

As Latin@s, it is important to recognize and celebrate our own African heritage, and those among our community who are Afro-Latin@. Whether you identify yourself as Afro-Latin@ or Afro-Caribbean, we honor you for enriching our culture with intelligence, strength, and beauty. Here’s to mestizaje, bridge-building and a diverse and vibrant community!

For those of you in NYC, here is a list of events celebrating this month.

By Krystal Chan, Development and Communications Intern

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