Archive for the ‘LOLA’ Category

Latinas are taking over! Both online and specifically in Florida. There are two very awesome trainings available right now. Check both out, see if you’re eligible and register. Make sure to help us spread the word!

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check out this awesome community mobilizing and advocacy webinar training! Completely accessible from home if you have a phone and computer with internet access. We believe in supporting young mothers and providing them with the tools to be leaders in their community.
Register here: http://tinyurl.com/MomELola


Our LOLA Training is coming to you! From October 18th-20th. Register for our three day Latin@s Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy training to receive the tools necessary to be a leader in your community. We will be covering your stay and travel.
Spread the word and register here: http://tinyurl.com/LOLAFL

If you have any questions please email Angy@LatinaInstitute.org or call us at 212-422-2553


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Activists across the country are making sure that their voices, and their stories, are being heard. We refuse to stay silent. A perfect example of strength, courage and determination is Samaria Johnson. She’s an organizer at the Alabama Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Justice, which was created out of our Southern Regional Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy Training. Her dedication to reproductive justice and the empowerment of Alabamians has made her the activist of the month.

Read her story here:

I’ve always gotten a bit of a thrill for bad girls. Whatever their faults, they stepped out of bounds and made their own decisions. The drive to support women and challenge misogynistic, patriarchal institutions and attitudes was jumpstarted early in my life, inspired by the bad girls of history and legend. In daily Bible study at my Christian elementary schools I questioned the assumptions that Eve’s forbidden fruit consumption was fundamentally morally wrong, and in college considered the social structures that condemned Helen for not conforming to traditional feminine roles and behaviors. These women and others took initiative – to encourage their own education and intelligence, to freely express their sexuality without guilt or hesitation, to control where they ended up in life and how.

Amanda Reyes and Samaria Johnson

Amanda Reyes and Samaria Johnson

I was raised and surrounded by generous, strong, complicated women at home, my mom and grandmothers and aunts. Most of my cousins are women. All of my closest friends are women. I grew up in a world of women, reading about them and looking up to them and learning from them. I have spent my entire life loving and being loved by women. There was never any question about my life’s purpose, once I realized it. My own strength has come from generations of women nurturing and fighting for each other. It continues to grow by relentlessly doing the same.

Over the past year I’ve become especially active in the pro-woman community. As a student at the University of Alabama, where I study history and am on track to graduate in Spring 2015, I joined the newly-formed Alabama Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Justice. I’ve organized

Samaria Johnson

Samaria Johnson

volunteering, collected signatures for sex education laws, attended potlucks to network with fellow student progressives, hosted documentary screenings. I serve as an escort at the local Tuscaloosa clinic and, standing outside the clinic in front of anti-choice protestors, have incredible leverage to explore and confront anti-woman attitudes. Being on the ground is incredibly important to me. It’s easy to get trapped in an ivory tower, and forget the nitty-gritty of actual people and the very real reasons why I’ve chosen the work that I do. At last March’s National Advocacy Weekend, I was able to connect with people whose experiences with society’s ubiquitous misogyny, heterosexism, and racism absolutely horrified me. At the same time, their stories reinforced my personal convictions. That horror was necessary in reminding me of why I work.

This summer I’m interning at the Feminist Majority Foundation in Arlington, Virginia. I’m working on a few different projects, including creating a sexual assault toolkit for universities and colleges. I’ve taken on as president of AASRJ at the University. For the next year, my fellow officers have adopted “sex positivity” as our theme. With that in mind we’ll be spotlighting black and queer intersections in sexual and reproductive justice, focus on religious outreach, and educating other students about safe expressions of sexuality and relationships. These kinds of opportunities are what dreams are made of. Thanks to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, FMF, and a number of other organizations and fellow activists, as well as the ladies in my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to have them and the strength of conviction to take advantage of them!

Samaria Johnson

Samaria Johnson

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“I’m a DREAM Act eligible youth, also queer, and I’m thinking this was an amazing experience for me. It was a concrete way I could link Reproductive Justice to the work I do in immigration.” -Felipe Matos

Felipe’s testimony about the training we piloted in Miami on LGBTQ issues as a matter of reproductive justice is just one example of the strides National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) made in 2011. No doubt the past 12 months were also wrought with non-stop attacks on low-income and immigrant women’s comprehensive health care and access. But December is a time of celebration. We hope you will join us in reflecting on a few of the many milestones that, with your help, we marked over the year.


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On November 1st, NLIRH ended its 3 session long inaugural e-LOLA Training. Twenty-three  young Latina activists between the ages of 18-26 from 12 states throughout the United States graduated from NLIRH’s newest Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA) training, the e-LOLA. The three sessions, mirrored after the traditional weekend-long LOLA trainings, focused on Latina reproductive health, rights, and justice; abortion access; and grassroots advocacy.

The participants were able to interact and engage in conversations with each other in a variety of ways including by watching video clips and PowerPoint presentations together, an on-going conference call, instant chat, and various other webinar features. They discussed at length issues stemming from the way Latin@s and abortion are portrayed by mainstream media and society and within our own cultures.  They shared ideas for advocating and reaching out to Latin@s about reproductive justice while keeping in mind the obstacles faced by our communities. The training was an overall success, and our activists mentioned feeling excited, motivated, invigorated and ready to continue the fight for reproductive justice. They will maintain contact with each other and with NLIRH through the NLIRH Alumni Network. The Alumni Network consists of current and former interns and e-LOLA graduates, providing them with exclusive resources for career development and serving as a means to help maintain relationships and foster new connections with other young activists throughout the United States. NLIRH will offer the e-LOLA a few times next year, so please stay tuned for more information.

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We are excited to introduce our newest initiative, the e-LOLA!

Our Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA) trainings have been carried out in 11 cities across the country since 2003, and the new e-LOLA has been designed to accommodate the lives of busy young adults by allowing them access to the materials presented at our traditional, rigorous two and a half day LOLA Reproductive Justice Institutes.

This webinar training will provide Latina activists, ages 18-25, with sessions on: the history of the reproductive rights movement, community organizing models and specific skills building tools to prepare participants with the knowledge and resources for launching a campaign. After the training, e-LOLA graduates will continue to be part of NLIRH’s larger network of Latina advocates and become part of the Alumni Network as well as become leaders on reproductive health issues in their communities.

The e-LOLA webinar series will occur on October 25th, October 27th, and November 1st at 7pm EST and is free of charge. More information on how to apply is here.

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NLIRH staff and WI activists pose together

NLIRH staff with JoCasta Zamarripa

NLIRH’s signature training, Latinas Organizing for Leadership and Advocacy (LOLA), went to two new cities this past year. Our first stop was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in late September where the wonderful people from Proyecto Salud and Planned Parenthood of WI hosted us and co-sponsored the weekend-long training. We kicked off the training with a wonderful reception with keynote speaker, JoCasta Zamarripa, the first Latina to serve in the state legislature representing Assembly District 8 in Milwaukee, WI. A total of 22 participants attended the training, one of which described it to be “more than just an educational training, but a life changing experience”. The fierce women who attended our training did not wait long to organize a mini- LOLA of their own a month later, where they had 35 people attend. We are very excited to continue to see the development of our WI Latina Advocacy Network and expect nothing but more success and fierce activism.

WI LOLA graduates holding certificates and salud, dignidad y justicia t-shirts

Wisconsin LOLA graduates!


Our second destination brought us back to our roots in NYC, where the first LOLA training was held back in 2005. We were back in NYC for the second time around in order to jumpstart our Latina Advocacy Network back into action. On an early cold December morning we had the privilege to host Part 1 of our LOLA training at Queens Pride House. We had a smaller and more intimate setting in comparison to our WI LOLA, which proved to be instrumental and brought lots of rich dialogue and shared experiences. We look forward to Part 2 of the LOLA training coming up in January to prepare our next generation of activists for our National Advocacy Weekend scheduled for March 2011.

Three participants during a timeline exercise examine the pieces of paper along the wall

NYC LOLA participants during a timeline exercise

Completing two LOLA trainings in a matter of months was both challenging and rewarding. We provided a space where women could connect with each other and learn that their experiences and voices are valuable. They saw themselves in each other and in NLIRH, creating a sense of community and solidarity for reproductive justice. Salud! Dignidad! Y Justicia!

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Mural of eagle and multi-colored rays on the side of a buildingIt has been two years since our last LOLA Training took place in Washington DC. We took the two years to focus on our current groups and build with them, before reaching out to new cities and activists. Now we are pleased to announce that we’re starting our next phase of LOLA Reproductive Justice Institutes!

Our first LOLA Reproductive Justice Institute of 2010 will take place in Milwaukee this September.

Our LOLA RJ Institutes seek to build a group of Latina leaders, strengthen the voices of Latinas and enable them to be seen as a powerful group who can influence policy decisions that directly impact our lives, our families and our communities.

Our co-sponsors for this Spanish language LOLA RJ Institute are Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Proyecto Salud, a joint project of CORE-El Centro and Aurora Walker’s Point Community Clinic that  has been working in the Latino community since 2006. Proyecto Salud’s mission is to create new avenues for social change and foster a community that embraces spiritual, mental and physical health.  They work with an ecological approach to public health and their philosophy is one of collaboration and civic capacity building.

We are thrilled about working with the Latina immigrant community in Milwaukee and we anticipate nothing but success come September, when we return to Milwaukee to facilitate our LOLA RJ Institute. New beginnings always offer new opportunities and we are happy that we have found new connections with strong energized Latinas in Milwaukee.

Interested in learning more about our Milwaukee LOLA RJ Institute? Email stephanie@latinainstitute.org.

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