Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. She has been a leader in progressive movements for over 15 years. Jessica is successfully forging connections between reproductive health, gender, immigration, LGBTQ liberation, labor and Latino civil rights, breaking down barriers between movements and building a strong Latina grassroots presence.
There can be no reproductive justice when Black mothers fear for the lives of their sons; when Black families are deprived of caregivers, breadwinners, and parents; and when Black children cannot grow up in a society that values their lives and upholds their human dignity.
Your story, of your family struggling to make ends meet, and of the lack of education about sexual and reproductive health, is all too common for young Latinas all over this country—though it’s not always a story that is spoken of out loud.
Beatriz’s struggle to protect her health, live with human dignity, and find justice in a dark time—that struggle is one we cannot forget. The sad reality is, it is also a struggle that is all too common for women across the globe.
Doctors, nurses, and clinic staff who provide abortions often face hostile, life-threatening environments, threats to their families, invasions of privacy, and endless legal assaults. That’s why we are taking the time to thank and reflect on the invaluable service these providers give their patients.
In the whirlwind of policy debates and activist conferences, it is easy to gloss over the victories we’ve accomplished together this past year. As I look forward to my next year, I’m glad to have such powerful hermanas beside me because we still have much work to tackle.
As the recent past has demonstrated, anti-choice, anti-immigrant policymakers inevitably seek to undermine our civil rights by attacking our most marginalized first, and we must be prepared to respond. It is imperative for us all to now act together in solidarity.
In all the debate about breastfeeding and parenting, I know some choices will work for some mothers and not for others. But it is critical that as a society, we have the policies and infrastructure in place to support those decisions.
The Affordable Care Act is the most ground-breaking piece of legislation passed in our lifetimes to address the kinds of health disparities experienced by people of color. This law will grant access to quality health care to an estimated 32 million people who otherwise would not have been able to afford it--our sisters, our mothers, our primos, and our neighbors.
Whether President Obama was compelled to weave the bubble gum narrative for political gain or because it truly reflects his thinking, the result is the same. Complex sexual health issues get overly simplified, society focuses on stigma more than solution, and young people are left with policy decisions that don't begin to match the weight of their lived experiences nor keep them "safe."
Attacks on immigrants are an issue not only for the immigrant rights community; these attacks take aim at the core principles of the groups working to advance human and civil rights, equal opportunity, human rights and dignity, healthcare for all, and more.
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