NLIRH

Coming Out of the Shadows: National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Stands with Undocumented Immigrant Youth

March 28, 2011

Stephanie Alvarado, National Field Organizer at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), spoke in support of the activism of undocumented immigrant youth at the March 2011 Coming Out of the Shadows Rally in New York's Union Square. NLIRH has been a major force in bringing the struggles and triumphs of immigrant women to the forefront of the reproductive health and women’s movements. "We stand with the DREAMers," said Stephanie. "Your bravery will not be in vain."

Posted in: Actions, Community, Immigration, NLIRH

e-LOLA: Training a new generation of Latina activists nationwide

September 28, 2011

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health activists in Washington, D.C.

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, a Third Wave grant partner, is training even more young activists through its new initiative, 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 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.
NLIRH's previous LOLA trainings were crucial to developing a reproductive justice network of young Latinas, whose work ranges from securing abortion access to reforming immigration policies. As NLIRH activist Diana Salas writes, “Past trainings provided by the Latina Institute have helped me frame the messages around reproductive health and have connected me with other NYC Latinas working on similar issues. These trainings have been instrumental for someone who does not work in the reproductive justice field.” Through e-LOLA, NLIRH is expanding this vital training to young activists nationwide and strengthening this critical activist coalition. To find out more, check out NLIRH's e-LOLA page and application.

Posted in: Leadership, Movement Building, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice, Youth Organizing

LGBTQ Latin@s and Reproductive Justice: Why Reproductive Health Is a Queer Issue

June 22, 2011

Third Wave grant partner National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health shares this new issue brief, on LGBTQ Latin@s and Reproductive Justice:

LGBTQ people have been a part of movements for reproductive health and justice for as long as these movements have existed, and we are proud to honor that work and highlight the issues that LGBTQ Latin@s face when it comes to reproductive health and justice. Though some might say that reproductive health issues aren’t queer issues at all, we believe that this could not be further from the truth. The heavily gendered nature of reproductive health services, employment discrimination, and family recognition are all issues that affect LGBTQ people’s health and their access to quality care, and it’s time for reproductive health, rights and justice organizations to recognize and fight against these barriers. Immigration, too, places a set of barriers specific to LGBTQ communities, such as access to health care, safety in detention centers for transgender and gender-nonconforming people, and family reunification policies that do not recognize LGBTQ families. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge the resilience of LGBT Latin@s and communities of color, who are resisting exclusionary systems and recognizing reproductive justice as a critical issue in their communities.
You can download the brief from NLIRH's website, in English and in Spanish.

Posted in: Healthcare, NLIRH

Making Movement With Our Stories: Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice

September 8, 2010

As the summer wound down and legislative season ramped up, two of our grant partners, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, along with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, teamed up to host the First Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice. Over Facebook, Twitter, and on their own blogs, NLIRH gathered and published stories from their members and extended community about the kinds of power they have over their own reproductive and sexual lives -- and the times when they didn't get the care and information they sought out. We asked Miriam Perez and Maria Elena Perez of NLIRH to tell us more about their collaborative, online storytelling campaign. Third Wave: What was the inspiration for using blogging and social media as a central part of the RJ Week of Action? Miriam Perez: For the Latina RJ Week of Action we wanted to elevate the dialogue that is already happening across online communities about reproductive justice from a Latina perspective. We wanted to do so in a coordinated and organized way, so folks across the RJ community (and the blogosphere in general) could sense the breadth and depth of our issues and perspectives. We also just really wanted to get folks talking to each other, and about their stories -- specifically, this time, their "contraception story." We know Latinas have unique experiences when it comes to contraception, sex ed, interactions with providers. We wanted to spend a week pushing those stories to the top and bringing them into the spotlight. The conversations on Facebook in response to five questions we were asking (one each day) were probably the most successful and direct conversation builders, and we also had over 20 blog posts about the week of action across the web. Third Wave: What's been the biggest takeaway or success from the RJ Week of Action? Maria Elena Perez: The biggest takeaway has been the power of social media and blogs to raise awareness around an RJ issue. The Week of Action was a success on the ground as well, but the coverage we got through the blogosphere was more than we expected. Next year with more time and planning, we want to involve more groups. Also, I can't stress enough how instrumental Miriam was to our success with the blog carnival and all the coverage there. She really leveraged her relationships as a blogger to get other Latina bloggers on board to blog about this and then coordinating the interns' blogs. Miriam, works as a consultant with us on our e-communications efforts and by working with her, we've been able to elevate our blog. In the past, before the week of action, interns' blog posts have been cross posted on RH Reality Check, which was really exciting to see. Also, for Facebook we had an intentional strategy of having staff and interns respond to the questions. We weren't getting much dialogue on our page and we decided asking questions would generate some traffic, but more importantly having staff and interns participate. We've seen on other pages, once folks from the org and others comment, other people feel more inclined to do so. Something small but definitely made a difference with the dialogue happening on Facebook. People like questions and also feeling like they are getting to know the organization (and people there).

Posted in: Actions, COLOR, Movement Building, NLIRH

NLIRH & COLOR Kick Off Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice

August 10, 2010

Third Wave grant partners National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, along with California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, have teamed up to host the First Annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice on August 9-15. Over on the NLIRH blog, folks are sharing their stories about access to sex education and contraception. Here's Rita Martinez, writing on her "So-Called Sex Education":

Like many young Latinas, I never really felt comfortable talking about contraception with my parents; god forbid they think I was “active,” (shudder). This subject matter was only really appropriate among girlfriends and the like, where it was easier to share such experiences. To exacerbate the problem, aside from a couple days of Sex Ed in 6th grade and that dreadful quarter in Freshman Studies, I don’t recall ever having a real opportunity to discuss contraception options. Nay, I became understandably naïve in the matter, which is not to say I didn’t know of birth control, but it definitely did not hold an even “remotely visible” role in my high school scene.
Check out their campaign and learn how share your story, spread the word, take action, and lend support. You can also join in on Twitter by tagging your posts #latinaRJwk, or coming out to events in California, Florida, New York, and Texas.

Posted in: Actions, Blog, COLOR, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice

On Mama’s Day, Recognizing Young Mothers & Strong Families

May 4, 2011

(Video by Strong Families, a project of Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice and in collaboration with reproductive justice organizations around the US) Today at The Frisky, Adriann Barboa (director of Young Women United) offers a smart take on how we can support young parents in our communities:

When I see the dismal statistics and negative images our communities are bombarded with, I wonder how many of the negative outcomes are caused not by the age of the parents, but by the stigma heaped on them and the isolation that results? We all know there is nothing inherently wrong with giving birth at 18. Humans have been doing it throughout time; President Barack Obama’s mom did it, every 30-year-old I know has a mother who was “young” by today’s standards. In a generation, the “proper” age to become a parent has changed. Economic security sure helps in raising kids. Having a partner does too. But 40 percent of babies in the US are born to mothers who are not married, and their ages range across the board. The Great Recession has taught us many things, including that we can’t count on financial security at any age. Maybe instead of a National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, with statistics and images that demonize young parents, we could have a National Day to Support Young Parents? We could have a day when service providers, teachers, ministers, and the media celebrate all of the great achievements by young parents and their kids. We could enjoy a day when we are honored for all we have taken on, and all that we have succeeded in doing, when the folks around us ask us how they can best support us, instead of telling us what we should have done differently.
Supporting young people's decisions to parent is a critical piece of ensuring reproductive freedom. In recognition and in celebration of Mother's Day, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) launched their campaign What's the Real Problem?. "We’ve been challenging the stigmatizing narratives that paint young mothers as irresponsible, hopeless, and drains on the state," writes Verónica Bayetti Flores, senior policy analyst at NLIRH. "Young women who choose to become mothers continue to be human, and deserve as much opportunity to lead fulfilling lives as women who delay their pregnancies or choose not to parent at all.

Posted in: Community, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice, Young Women United

Podcast: This Year’s Reproductive Health & Justice Initiative

March 10, 2011

Grant Partners, 2010 RHJI Podcast From left: Paris Hatcher, Maria Elena Perez, Claire Simon, Gabriel Foster Here at Third Wave, we are inspired on a daily basis by the courage, creativity, and power of our grant partners across the country. Together they are organizing and building a more powerful movement for reproductive health and justice. This movement will ensure reproductive health and rights for young people, and give them the resources and tools they need to confront the racism, poverty, gender-based violence at the root of inequality. For a quick introduction to some of their work this year, listen to to this recent podcast featuring members of four of our grant partner organizations: [wpaudio url="http://dl.dropbox.com/u/378648/2010%20RHJI%20Docket%20Briefing.mp3" text="Podcast - Reproductive Health and Justice Initiative" dl="0"] (Or, direct download here.)

Posted in: Blog, Community, NLIRH, Podcast, SPARK, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, YWCHAC

Smith Bill Update: Rape Redefinition Removed

February 3, 2011

Chalk one up to the many activists, organizations and political commentators who took on Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) for their attempt to redefine rape as part of a new bill Smith introduced, the "No Tax Payer Funding for Abortion Act" [PDF]. As originally drafted, the bill proposed to narrow the Medicaid funding exception that currently provides coverage for abortions in the case of rape to only cover a new category of "forcible" rape. Now, after five days of whirlwind outrage, such as the #DearJohn Twitter campaign and Jon Stewart's segment on "Rape Rape" vs. "Rapish" (below), the clause was finally removed this morning.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Rape Victim Abortion Funding
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Let's not breathe a sigh of relief yet. There is so much yet left to challenge in the Smith Bill that would damage our ability to determine what happens to our bodies. The "forcible rape" clause was only one in a series of attacks on our reproductive and health options, especially for young people, low income people, and people of color. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (RHTP) released a statement that calls the bill on its racist ramifications.
This bill would strip a woman of her right to decide which options best suit her health care needs and would add cruel restrictions for victims of sexual violence. Access to abortion is critically important for women of color and immigrant women who are disproportionally poor. Presently, 25% of poor women who want to choose abortion can’t because the federal government refuses to pay for it.
Among a slew of other attacks on women's access to healthcare, the bill would destroy private insurance coverage of abortion with broad reaching impact. Mother Jones explains that although the proposal "has a stated aim of making the Hyde Amendment (a rule that has to be renewed every year that prohibits federal funding of abortions through Medicaid) into permanent, government-wide law" it could be "a Trojan horse for the elimination of private insurance coverage for abortion." Specifically,
Smith's bill would create a huge incentive for employers to only offer health insurance that doesn't cover abortion. Insurers would respond to what their customers wanted, and the percentage of health plans offering abortion coverage—currently 86 percent—would undoubtedly plummet. …The employer tax exemption for health insurance is the government's largest tax expenditure. It affects nearly every American who gets health insurance through their employers. If the abortion rights advocates are right, the tax section of Smith's bill would affect far more people (and more money) than any other portion of the law.
We need to see this win — the removal of the "forcible rape" clause — as only the first step of many in knocking apart the Smith bill. My greatest fear is that we allow ourselves to celebrate or to be distracted: this is not a compromise. As a community of activists who care about protecting the health and well-being of the people who are most vulnerable to the harsh impacts of abusive legislation, we need to see the larger picture. Every part of this bill is a systematic attack on our access to safe, high quality and affordable healthcare, and we need to sustain our efforts to change it.

Posted in: Blog, Healthcare, NLIRH, Reproductive Justice