Friday, December 4, 2009

Dec 2 Lobby Day Follow-up from National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Please read below a blog post from one of the women who rode the bus with me and Gaby Moreno, NOW-NYS and NOW-NYC secretary on Wednesday, December 2 to lobby in DC against anti-choice language in the healthcare bill.

Jerin Alam
Co-Chair, NOW-NYS Young Feminist Task Force

Good Morning,
This past Wednesday, you, me and fifty other people just like us journeyed down to Washington, D.C. to continue to the fight for women's rights and reproductive justice. On behalf of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, I want to thank you for your commitment, energy and advocacy that you shared with us. With our friends at the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood, Sistersong, The Feminist Majority, Pro-Choice Education Project, ChoiceUSA and countless others—we are confident our message to our representatives was loud and clear: the Stupak-Pitts Amendment is discriminatory and ignores the rights of Latinas, immigrants, and all women in this country.

While our trip there was long—and our trip back was even longer—we made some lasting memories that day. We met with senior representatives, networked with other organizations and participated in a momentous and powerful rally. Latina Institute could not have done this without your support. Even though we began at 6am, and trekked through the pouring rain, we know that we made a difference. We represented Latin@s not just in New York City, but all over the country. I had the opportunity to speak with most of you and I can say wholeheartedly that I have never been around more impassioned people that all of you. So thank you for your continuous support to NLIRH and to women's and immigrant rights in this country. While the fight is not over, this past Wednesday proved that defenders of reproductive justice are not going anywhere.

Below you will see a blog post from Adrienne, another intern here at Latina Institute, who wrote about her experience on our Lobby Day. As always, if you have any questions, want to get more involved or learn more about Latina Institute then please don't hesitate to check out our website at or email me, .

Once again, thank you,

Carlos A. Blanco
Community Mobilization Intern Fall '09
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

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Buenas Dias,

El miércoles pasado, usted, yo y cincuenta otras personas como nosotros viajamos a Washington, DC, para continuar la lucha de las mujeres y para la justicia reproductiva. En nombre del Instituto Nacional de Latinas para la Salud Reproductiva, quiero darle las gracias por su compromiso, la energía y la promoción que has compartido con nosotros. Con nuestros amigos de la National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum, Planned Parenthood, SisterSong, The Feminist Majority, Pro-Choice Education Project, ChoiceUSA y muchos otros más--estamos seguros de que nuestro mensaje a nuestros representantes es alto y claro: la enmienda Stupak-Pitts es discriminatoria e ignora los derechos de las Latinas, los inmigrantes, y todas las mujeres de este país.

Mientras que nuestro viaje fue largo, y nuestro viaje de regreso fue aún más largo, que hicimos algunos recuerdos perdurables de ese día. Nos reunimos con representantes de alto nivel, nos conectamos con otras organizaciones, y participamos en un acto trascendental y de gran alcance. El Instituto Nacional de Latinas no podríamos haber hecho esto sin su apoyo. A pesar de que comenzamos a las 6 de la mañana, y caminamos por la lluvia,  nosotros sabemos que hemos hecho una diferencia. Representamos a las latinas y los latinos no sólo de Nueva York, pero en todo el país. Tuve la oportunidad de hablar con la mayoría de ustedes y puedo decir sinceramente que nunca he estado cerca de personas más apasionadas que todos ustedes. Así que gracias por su continuo apoyo que dan a NLIRH y para las mujeres y los derechos de los inmigrantes en este país. Si bien la lucha no ha terminado, el pasado miércoles demostró que los defensores de la justicia reproductiva no van a ninguna parte.

A continuación podrás ver una entrada de blog de Adrienne, otro interno de NLIRH, que escribió sobre su experiencia en nuestro Lobby Day. Como siempre, si tiene alguna pregunta, desea involucrarse más o quiere aprender sobre NLIRH, por favor no dudes en visitar nuestra página, o escríbeme mi correo electrónico

Una vez más, gracias,

Carlos A. Blanco
Community Mobilization Intern Fall '09
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Adrienne's blog post:
I wouldn't exactly call myself a morning person – but I was awake and ready to go, yesterday at 6:30 in the morning with a bus full of activists and a handful of coffee and snacks. We were on our way to Washington DC to lobby against the harmful and dangerous language in the Stupak Amendment to the House Health Care Bill. The bus was packed and the energy was good. On the bus – we did a quick Lobbying 101. We talked about our messaging; no one should be left behind in health care reform, not women, not immigrants, not Latinas, and not anyone else. We got to the capital ready to tell our senators and representatives that Stupak outrageously extends Hyde and it will hurt women, families and communities.
Once in the capital – it was time to head to the Lobby Day Rally. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood was leading the rally. There were activists from around the country – including Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida where we need good lobbying and good advocacy. In addition to Cecile Richards, Congressional Representative and Senators from around the country spoke – including Senator Barbara Boxer (D – CA), who noted that 'we won't turn our backs on women, we won't go back!' All of the speakers noted that passing health care reform on the backs of women can't and won't happen – not if we tell our senators and representatives to vote against Stupak or any other similar amendments.
NLIRH's Executive Director, Silvia Henriquez spoke about health care reform, noting that it can't be passed on the backs of women or on the backs of immigrants. Latinas, other women of color and immigrants should be able to buy insurance that covers their needs (actually they deserve a whole lot more – which is why we're still in this fight). People were tweeting all throughout the rally – and reunions between friends were happening all over the place. It's a powerful thing to bring together activists from all over the country.  I connected with friends from as far away as Georgia, and others who live right in DC.  There were folks from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, folks from SisterSong and folks from NOW and NARAL chapters across the country. Young people were well represented, energetic and ready to make change.
After the Rally, my group met with a legislative aide to Senator Kay Hutchinson Bailey (the first ever woman Senator from Texas). We spoke about the harm the Stupak Amendment will do to women in families, especially in places like south Texas where poverty reigns and people routinely have to cross the border to get medical care. The Senator hasn't told us how she'll vote – but we certainly know this much: those in favor of the Stupak and similar amendments are calling their senators. They are calling their friends in other states and telling them to call their senators. We've got to do the same.
On the way back to New York, some folks recounted stories of supportive legislators, but many recounted stories of hostility. One legislative aide said that including immigrants in health care reform was never going to happen." The activist then got active and explained to the aide that corporations hire immigrants and immigrants therefore pay into the system. There is no way to move forward in the United States of America without keeping immigrants at the forefront of the discussion. This just goes to show you there are some Senators and Representatives who are supportive and some who are downright hostile. Others remain undecided. We've got to speak to all of them and let them know that women and immigrants matter and need to be included in health care reform. Call, email, write or visit your senators and representatives. It's going to be close, so make sure that you thank your supportive Senators and Representatives for having our backs! Reach out to the undecided ones – explain that Stupak extends Hyde and doesn't allow women to buy health insurance that meet their needs. And, let that hostile Senator or Representative know that you won't be voting for him or her if they vote in favor of a bill that hurts women and families, immigrants and the health of this nation. It sounds cliché and you've heard it a million times – but it's true – it's time to tell Stupak to Fall Back and to remind our legislators to pass health care reform that supports women, immigrants, families and communities.
By Adrienne Wallace, Research Intern

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
50 Broad St., Suite 1937
New York City, New York 10004
Tel: 212.422.2553
Fax: 212.422.2556

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