My Wish List For Latin@ Pregnancy Prevention Month

Bianca I. Laureano

A wish list for National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the National Day To Prevent Teen Pregnancy specifically for providers working with Latin@ youth.

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and May 5th specifically is the National Day To Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Each year at this time I usually focus on how we can and do work with Latin@ youth, as my training and education over a decade ago began with trying to understand what was occurring in my community.

This year, instead of focusing on young people, young Latin@s, and programs that have been effective for some communities I want to encourage providers working with Latin@s to try a few things. Here’s my “wish list” for providers for National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month:

1.    Expand y/our understanding of what and who Latin@s are. With the US Census, there was/is a lot of talk about racial classification and how race has been formed and is interpreted in the United States, especially for Latin@s in the US. One aspect of our identity that I’m very much committed to is the understanding, recognition and inclusion of Latin@s who identify and claim their African and/or Black identities (and yes there are multiple aspects to our complex identities that also include European, indigenous, Asian, and every ethnic and cultural group you can think of). If you are unclear how to even begin to understand this specific aspect of our identity I encourage you to visit The LatiNegr@s Project Tumblr Page, which I co-founded with several self-identified Afr@-Latin@s/LatiNegr@s/Blaktin@s/Afr@-Caribeñ@s. You may also submit something to the page as well.

2.    Include ALL people who identify as boys and men into programming. Yes, this includes recognizing and including trans men and boys, people on a spectrum of gender identity and cisgender men. I’m totally convinced one reason pregnancy prevention programs do not work is because there is too much focus on (young) women and Latinas. This is a huge disservice and perpetuates the idea that pregnancy is only a “woman’s” issue. Men and boys need the same and specialized information about sexual and reproductive health.

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3.    Do not introduce or mention the ideology of “machismo” unless/until the community you are working with introduces it to you. Do you think this will be a challenge for you? Why is that? What will change if you make a conscious decision to not introduce this term and ideology? If it is presented in a setting ask how your client is using it and how they define the term. You may be surprised with what you hear. There are many people who have bought into the ideology that machismo is always already negative. Yet, there are some people who don’t always see machismo as negative, I am one of those people. The ideas surrounding the negative aspects of machismo are completely foreign to me because I had a stay-at-home father growing up for most of the 1980s and a mother who had a full-time job. Who do you isolate and protect or victimize when using this term in a rigid way?

4.    Recognize, know, and act like you know not all your clients are heterosexual. If you have yet to realize that there are many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer identified people who want to be parents, I don’t know what to tell you besides get it together! Being an example of how to challenge heterosexism in our society and in our community especially is something that is not always centered. What examples of challenging heterosexuality can we think of in our programs that target Latin@ youth specifically? What images, symbols, marketing, brochures, language, forms are used in your program/environment/space that let young LGBTQ and heterosexual Latin@ youth know they are important and will be heard?

5.    Recognize your clients who identify as transgender, queer, lesbian, gay, or bisexual need pregnancy prevention. I mentioned this back in 2002 when I was working at the Child Welfare League of America and unfortunately the concept was not embraced until an LGBTQ program was established and an older White gay man hired to lead the program. When he shared this as an important community to focus on, guess what happened, people listened. Assuming that queer identified and transgender Latin@ youth do not need to be educated about preventing pregnancy is simply ignorant, problematic, and harmful. One thing I’ve learned over the years is how pregnancy is used among queer youth as a form of safety to not have to “come out” to family or supportive people in their lives. For some youth, “coming out” is connected to having or losing shelter, food, and daily basic needs. This is real for Latin@ youth as well.

6.    Honor the language that young Latin@s use to express themselves. Recognize code-switching as a valid form of expression and an important part of the power young people have. I’ve mentioned how language is powerful and an important part of young people creating specific forms of media before. How many of our images, brochures, conversations recognize code-switching as a valid form of expression? Side-bar: terms such as “Latina woman” are a double positive and grammatically incorrect as the term “Latina” is already a gendered term. “Latino woman” is correct.

7.    Include Latin@ youth who are currently parenting in pregnancy prevention efforts. Helping youth plan their families and future is a skill that everyone needs. Assuming that a young parent does not need pregnancy prevention is missing the point, in my opinion. How do parenting programs targeted towards young Latin@ parents incorporate conversations and skills about preventing pregnancy beyond birth control and contraceptive options?

8.    Rethink how assimilation is used, defined, and incorporated into pregnancy prevention targeting Latin@ youth. I’ve shared before how research has shown that when Latino youth are raised to embrace all aspects of their cultural and national identity they are happier, healthier and less likely to do “bad things.” How have you incorporated this data and perspective into your pregnancy prevention efforts for Latin@ youth? Or is it too easy and affordable to ignore these findings, and potential life-saving information? Because that’s been done.

9.    Help youth find and use adjectives besides “hard” to describe what it’s like being a teen parent. I’ve heard this term used several times, especially on MTVs 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom and find this term to be just as descriptive as the word “stuff.” Not sure where or how to begin such a discussion, consider how wish number 6 can help.

10.    Commit and follow through with having the Latin@ youth you work with teach you something. Often programs and curriculums are created having the facilitator as the person with the most knowledge in the room. If we begin to challenge this concept we not only can create new class/space dynamics, but also help youth recognize the power they have, how valuable they are, and that they are producers of knowledge. Some of the topics I’ve committed to asking the youth in my life to help me with include:

•    Teach me about the musical genre Bounce from NOLA
•    Introduce me to new terminology, their origins, and how to use them accurately and appropriately

News Politics

Clinton Campaign Announces Tim Kaine as Pick for Vice President

Ally Boguhn

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

The Clinton campaign announced Friday that Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has been selected to join Hillary Clinton’s ticket as her vice presidential candidate.

“I’m thrilled to announce my running mate, @TimKaine, a man who’s devoted his life to fighting for others,” said Clinton in a tweet.

“.@TimKaine is a relentless optimist who believes no problem is unsolvable if you put in the work to solve it,” she added.

The prospect of Kaine’s selection has been criticized by some progressives due to his stances on issues including abortion as well as bank and trade regulation.

Kaine signed two letters this week calling for the regulations on banks to be eased, according to a Wednesday report published by the Huffington Post, thereby ”setting himself up as a figure willing to do battle with the progressive wing of the party.”

Charles Chamberlain, executive director of the progressive political action committee Democracy for America, told the New York Times that Kaine’s selection “could be disastrous for our efforts to defeat Donald Trump in the fall” given the senator’s apparent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Just before Clinton’s campaign made the official announcement that Kaine had been selected, the senator praised the TPP during an interview with the Intercept, though he signaled he had ultimately not decided how he would vote on the matter.

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Kaine’s record on reproductive rights has also generated controversy as news began to circulate that he was being considered to join Clinton’s ticket. Though Kaine recently argued in favor of providing Planned Parenthood with access to funding to fight the Zika virus and signed on as a co-sponsor of the Women’s Health Protection Act—which would prohibit states and the federal government from enacting restrictions on abortion that aren’t applied to comparable medical services—he has also been vocal about his personal opposition to abortion.

In a June interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Kaine told host Chuck Todd he was “personally” opposed to abortion. He went on, however, to affirm that he still believed “not just as a matter of politics, but even as a matter of morality, that matters about reproduction and intimacy and relationships and contraception are in the personal realm. They’re moral decisions for individuals to make for themselves. And the last thing we need is government intruding into those personal decisions.”

As Rewire has previously reported, though Kaine may have a 100 percent rating for his time in the Senate from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the campaign website for his 2005 run for governor of Virginia promised he would “work in good faith to reduce abortions” by enforcing Virginia’s “restrictions on abortion and passing an enforceable ban on partial birth abortion that protects the life and health of the mother.”

As governor, Kaine did support some existing restrictions on abortion, including Virginia’s parental consent law and a so-called informed consent law. He also signed a 2009 measure that created “Choose Life” license plates in the state, and gave a percentage of the proceeds to a crisis pregnancy network.

Regardless of Clinton’s vice president pick, the “center of gravity in the Democratic Party has shifted in a bold, populist, progressive direction,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, in an emailed statement. “It’s now more important than ever that Hillary Clinton run an aggressive campaign on core economic ideas like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, Wall Street reform, and yes, stopping the TPP. It’s the best way to unite the Democratic Party, and stop Republicans from winning over swing voters on bread-and-butter issues.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included a typo that misidentified Sen. Tim Kaine as a Republican. We regret this error.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: Republican National Convention Edition

Ally Boguhn

The Trump family's RNC claims about crime and the presidential candidate's record on gender equality have kept fact-checkers busy.

Republicans came together in Cleveland this week to nominate Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention (RNC), generating days of cringe-inducing falsehoods and misleading statements on crime, the nominee’s positions on gender equality, and LGBTQ people.

Trump’s Acceptance Speech Blasted for Making False Claims on Crime

Trump accepted the Republican nomination in a Thursday night speech at the RNC that drew harsh criticism for many of its misleading and outright false talking points.

Numerous fact-checkers took Trump to task, calling out many of his claims for being “wrong,” and “inflated or misleading.”

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 Among the most hotly contested of Trump’s claims was the assertion that crime has exploded across the country.

“Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement,” Trump claimed, according to his prepared remarks, which were leaked ahead of his address. “Homicides last year increased by 17 percent in America’s 50 largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60 percent in nearby Baltimore.”

Crime rates overall have been steadily declining for years.

“In 2015, there was an uptick in homicides in 36 of the 50 largest cities compared to the previous years. The rate did, indeed, increase nearly 17 percent, and it was the worst annual change since 1990. The homicide rate was up 54.3 percent in Washington, and 58.5 percent in Baltimore,” explained Washington Post fact checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee. “But in the first months of 2016, homicide trends were about evenly split in the major cities. Out of 63 agencies reporting to the Major Cities Chiefs Association, 32 cities saw a decrease in homicides in first quarter 2016 and 31 saw an increase.”

Ames Grawert, a counsel in the Brennan Center’s Justice Program, said in a statement posted to the organization’s website that 2016 statistics aren’t sufficient in declaring crime rate trends. 

“Overall, crime rates remain at historic lows. Fear-inducing soundbites are counterproductive, and distract from nuanced, data-driven, and solution-oriented conversations on how to build a smarter criminal justice system in America,” Grawert said. “It’s true that some cities saw an increase in murder rates last year, and that can’t be ignored, but it’s too early to say if that’s part of a national trend.” 

When Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chairman, was confronted with the common Republican falsehoods on crime during a Thursday interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, he claimed that the FBI’s statistics were not to be trusted given that the organization recently advised against charges in connection with Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state.

“According to FBI statistics, crime rates have been going down for decades,” Tapper told Manafort. “How can Republicans make the argument that it’s somehow more dangerous today when the facts don’t back that up?”

“People don’t feel safe in their neighborhoods,” said Manafort, going on to claim that “the FBI is certainly suspect these days after what they did with Hillary Clinton.”

There was at least one notable figure who wholeheartedly embraced Trump’s fearmongering: former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke. “Great Trump Speech,” tweeted Duke on Thursday evening. “Couldn’t have said it better!”

Ben Carson Claims Transgender People Are Proof of “How Absurd We Have Become”

Former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson criticized the existence of transgender people while speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast on Tuesday in Cleveland.  

“You know, we look at this whole transgender thing, I’ve got to tell you: For thousands of years, mankind has known what a man is and what a woman is. And now, all of a sudden we don’t know anymore,” said Carson, a retired neurosurgeon. “Now, is that the height of absurdity? Because today you feel like a woman, even though everything about you genetically says that you’re a man or vice versa?”

“Wouldn’t that be the same as if you woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan or reading some books and said, ‘You know what? I’m Afghanistan. Look, I know I don’t look that way. My ancestors came from Sweden, or something, I don’t know. But I really am. And if you say I’m not, you’re a racist,’” Carson said. “This is how absurd we have become.”

When confronted with his comments during an interview with Yahoo News’ Katie Couric, Carson doubled down on his claims.“There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female,” said Carson. “And just because you wake up one day and you say, ‘I think I’m the other one,’ that doesn’t change it. Just, a leopard can’t change its spots.”

“It’s not as if they woke up one day and decided, ‘I’m going to be a male or I’m going to be a female,’” Couric countered, pointing out that transgender people do not suddenly choose to change their gender identities on a whim.

Carson made several similar comments last year while on the campaign trail.

In December, Carson criticized the suggested that allowing transgender people into the military amounted to using the armed services “as a laboratory for social experimentation.”

Carson once suggested that allowing transgender people to use the restroom that aligned with their gender identity amounted to granting them “extra rights.”

Ivanka Trump Claims Her Father Supports Equal Pay, Access to Child Care

Ivanka Trump, the nominee’s daughter, made a pitch during her speech Thursday night at the RNC for why women voters should support her father.

“There have always been men of all background and ethnicities on my father’s job sites. And long before it was commonplace, you also saw women,” Ivanka Trump said. “At my father’s company, there are more female than male executives. Women are paid equally for the work that we do and when a woman becomes a mother, she is supported, not shut out.” 

“As president, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality child care affordable and accessible for all,” she continued before pivoting to address the gender wage gap. 

“Policies that allow women with children to thrive should not be novelties; they should be the norm. Politicians talk about wage equality, but my father has made it a practice at his company throughout his entire career.”

However, Trump’s stated positions on the gender wage gap, pregnancy and mothers in the workplace, and child care don’t quite add up to the picture the Trumps tried to paint at the RNC.

In 2004, Trump called pregnancy an “inconvenience” for employers. When a lawyer asked for a break during a deposition in 2011 to pump breast milk, Trump reportedly called her “disgusting.”

According to a June analysis conducted by the Boston Globe, the Trump campaign found that men who worked on Trump’s campaign “made nearly $6,100, or about 35 percent more [than women during the April payroll]. The disparity is slightly greater than the gender pay gap nationally.”

A former organizer for Trump also filed a discrimination complaint in January, alleging that she was paid less than her male counterparts.

When Trump was questioned about equal pay during a campaign stop last October, he did not outline his support for policies to address the issue. Instead, Trump suggested that, “You’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” Though he had previously stated that men and women who do the same job should be paid the same during an August 2015 interview on MSNBC, he also cautioned that determining whether people were doing the same jobs was “tricky.”

Trump has been all but completely silent on child care so far on the campaign trail. In contrast, Clinton released an agenda in May to address the soaring costs of child care in the United States.

Ivanka’s claims were not the only attempt that night by Trump’s inner circle to explain why women voters should turn to the Republican ticket. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, Manafort said that women would vote for the Republican nominee because they “can’t afford their lives anymore.”

“Many women in this country feel they can’t afford their lives, their husbands can’t afford to be paying for the family bills,” claimed Manafort. “Hillary Clinton is guilty of being part of the establishment that created that problem. They’re going to hear the message. And as they hear the message, that’s how we are going to appeal to them.”

What Else We’re Reading

Vox’s Dara Lind explained how “Trump’s RNC speech turned his white supporters’ fear into a weapon.”

Now that Mike Pence is the Republican nominee for vice president, Indiana Republicans have faced “an intense, chaotic, awkward week of brazen lobbying at the breakfast buffet, in the hallways and on the elevators” at the convention as they grapple with who will run to replace the state’s governor, according to the New York Times.

“This is a party and a power structure that feels threatened with extinction, willing to do anything for survival,” wrote Rebecca Traister on Trump and the RNC for New York Magazine. “They may not love Trump, but he is leading them precisely because he embodies their grotesque dreams of the restoration of white, patriarchal power.”

Though Trump spent much of the primary season denouncing big money in politics, while at the RNC, he courted billionaires in hopes of having them donate to supporting super PACs.

Michael Kranish reported for the Washington Post that of the 2,472 delegates at the RNC, it is estimated that only 18 were Black.

Cosmopolitan highlighted nine of the most sexist things that could be found at the convention.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) asked, “Where are these contributions that have been made” by people of color to civilization?