Category Archives: Wise Latinas

Moyers Full-Segment: New Face of Reproductive Rights

Thanks, again, to Moyers Media.

About these ads

The New Face of Reproductive Rights on Moyers

Thanks to the folks at Moyers Media again for providing the link to the video preview of an upcoming program. As we celebrate 40 years of Roe v Wade, it is always good to see the leadership of this movement become more diverse.

Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Lynn Paltrow, founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, talk to Bill about the how the modern abortion debate connects to other social justice issues.

“Reproductive justice really broadens the movement to incorporate things like socioeconomic status, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender identity,” says González-Rojas. “It’s really inclusive and much more holistic than looking to protect just the narrow, legal right to abortion.”

Watch on Full-Screen or…

Librotraficante Earns Intellectual Freedom Award

From the University of Illinois Grad School of Library and Information Sciences. Congrats to my friend Tony Diaz and his compatriotas for this ongoing movement. La lucha sigue!

Librotraficante is the 2012 recipient of the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award given by the faculty of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Librotraficante, a movement led by Tony Diaz, is being recognized for its efforts to oppose the censorship of ethnic and cultural studies materials in Arizona.

In 2010, Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona House Bill 2281 to modify the state public education system in regards to the teaching of ethnic studies. By prohibiting courses “designed for pupils of a particular ethnic group” and “advocating ethnic solidarity,” this law has been used to eliminate Tucson’s popular Mexican American Studies (MAS) program from the public school system. This ban involved the removal of dozens of MAS textbooks and reading list books such as award-winning works A People’s History of the United States (Zinn, 1980) and Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Freire, 1970). In response, the American Library Association (ALA) issued a resolution opposing the restriction of these materials.

The Librotraficante (the translation of which means “book smuggler”) movement emerged to counter the effects of the ban. In early 2012, with leadership from Diaz, Liana Lopez, Bryan Parras, Lupe Mendez, and Laura Acosta, Librotraficante organized a caravan of educators and activists who facilitated a series of events across the Southwest to raise awareness of the situation and collect books for underground libraries. The caravan reached Tucson on March 17, 2012, with over 1,000 books.

Librotraficante efforts have since extended across the country including the development of a magazine and a freedom of speech event created in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month. On September 21, 2012, several groups, including librarians participating in the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color, came together to learn more about the struggles in Tucson and appreciate the important works currently being censored.

A reception to honor Librotraficante will take place during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, Washington, on Saturday, January 26, 2013, from 5:30–7:00 p.m. The reception will be held in the Visions Room of the Renaissance Seattle Hotel, 515 Madison Street, Seattle. ABC-CLIO, a publisher of reference, contemporary thought, and professional development resources, provides an honorarium for the recipient and co-sponsors the reception.

The Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award is given annually to acknowledge individuals or groups who have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom, particularly as it affects libraries and information centers and the dissemination of ideas. Granted to those who have resisted censorship or efforts to abridge the freedom of individuals to read or view materials of their choice, the award may be in recognition of a particular action or long-term interest in, and dedication to, the cause of intellectual freedom. The award was established in 1969 by the GSLIS faculty to honor Robert Downs, a champion of intellectual freedom, on his twenty-fifth anniversary as director of the school.

An Inspiring Talk from Justice Sotomayor

Thanks to my sis, I was able to attend the Progressive Forum’s event last night, featuring Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor. I had heard part of her story, I abhorred the attacks on her after “Wise Latina,” and I teared up a little when she was nominated and when she was finally sworn-in. But watching her in person, instead of on TV, made her quite human and very much inspiring.

Life was not easy for Sotomayor. Going through life with an alcoholic father, a busy mother trying to make ends meet, and the challenge of juvenile diabetes, yet, still being able to come through it all with the help of an abuelita, family, and friends, is a story with which most Americans can identify–at the very least, the story of overcoming adversity.

A few highlights:

“Illegal”- Sotomayor is not a fan of calling the undocumented “illegal aliens.” But also stated that when she is asked, “What do you think about immigration?, she is quick to respond, “What do YOU think about it.” A perfect hint for those who expect others to fight their cause. We must all fight for what is right.

“Wise Latina”- Much like when she defended and effectively fended off offended right-wingers for her use of the term, she stated that her use of it came from a sense of pride in her culture, but above all, as a response to having to prove herself as worthy in a world that sees those with browner skin as unworthy. This is definitely something with which many can identify.

Voting – Sotomayor stated that she was content with the recent increase in voting in 2012, stating that the people must decide what they want from their government, rather than just let government happen.

Of course, her talk was all about her autobiography, My Beloved World. She stated that she wanted to write something that was different than most other autobiographies with stories which people can understand and connect. Reading some of her favorite passages, the crowd was quite responsive. Most touching for the Justice, though, was being received with a lengthy standing ovation.

Thanks, again, to the sis. It was great seeing some great friends last night.

NARAL: 2012 A Record Year of Anti-Choice Attacks

Catching up with news on women’s reproductive rights, NARAL released a report on the status of a woman’s right to choose as we celebrate 40 years since Roe v Wade.

NARAL also released a Congressional Record on choice–who supports women and who does not in D.C..

Unfortunately, it seems the fight to preserve Roe v Wade will continue.

Since 1995, states have enacted more than 700 anti-choice measures cumulatively. Each of these measures interferes with a woman’s right to make her own private, personal decisions about her reproductive health. And state governments continue to be dominated by anti-choice politicians, which likely means the trend of legislative attacks on reproductive freedom will continue in the year ahead.

NARAL outlined the War on Women in the report.

Anti-Choice Attacks:

  • 25 states enacted 42 anti-choice measures in 2012. (Readers of the book will note that the numbers are slightly different. That’s because in late 2012, two states enacted two additional measures.)
  • Arizona enacted the most anti-choice legislation in 2012, with four measures. Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin each enacted three anti-choice measures.
  • Since 1995, states have enacted 755 anti-choice measures.
  • 24 states earned a “F” on the women’s reproductive rights report card.

Pro-Choice Progress:

  • 6 states enacted 8 pro-choice measures in 2012.
  • Vermont enacted the most pro-choice legislation in 2012, with 3 measures.
  • 2012 marks the eighth year in a row that Colorado has enacted a pro-choice measure.

Keenan also pointed out states like Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana enacted bans on abortion care after 20 weeks that are clearly unconstitutional and designed as a challenge to Roe v. Wade. And states like Alabama, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Wisconsin enacted abortion-coverage bans in the states’ health-insurance exchanges.

“This is why elections matter,” Keenan continued. “Women continue to face legislative hostility in states dominated by anti-choice politicians. We may have won some battles but anti-choice politicians attack this right relentlessly – if we allow them. It is incumbent upon us to educate the public on these anti-choice tactics and hold these extreme politicians accountable.”

All I can say is that if you’re running for office (especially as a Democrat) and you are part of the attack or just stay quiet, you are doing a disservice to women.    If you are serious about running for office, any office, then you better be in tune with this issue.

SD-6 – The Money

Well, the Ethics reports are in and, not surprisingly, there seems to be a lot of money going in and going out in this race, especially through the campaigns of Sylvia Garcia and Carol Alvarado. (I prefer to look at the raw numbers report than go page-by-page).

A look through Garcia’s finds money from unions and lawyers, along with many individuals. A look through Alvarado’s finds money from cops, firemen, and a lot of corporate/business PACs, and of course, individuals. I can’t say I’m a fan of big business/corporate PACs, but they usually do give to sitting State Reps. I couldn’t help but notice a few Republican colleagues giving Alvarad0 some checks, as well as local Republicans like Bob Perry. I guess that’s all part of the game, too, if you like that sort of thing. None of Garcia’s contributions set off my “There’s a Republican in the room!” alarms.

For Garcia, though, beyond what she’s expended, there is a huge $106K in-kind contribution from Texas Organizing Project PAC for the ground work (canvassing and phones) they are doing for the campaign as part of their endorsement. Obviously, this freed some cash to spend on the TV ads, which cost almost $135K.

From the looks of it, they are both running some disciplined campaigns with the usual expenses–consultants, signs, direct mail, printing, staff.

The bigger story is the fact that over $700,000 (and if you include the TOP in-kind, a lot more) has been spent and both are left with over $700,000 with 8 10 days until election day (of course, they could raise some more in the closing days, too). Thus far, and as of Tuesday, a little over 3,400 souls have voted, including 1,776 ballot-by-mail voters. In other words, less than 1,700 have voted in person, thus far.

There are seven more days of early voting left in which SD-6 voters may vote at any of the early voting polling locations.

As far as the rest of the candidates go, other than the big filing fee, not much else has been spent that could even compare to the top-two funded folks. But they have a lot of heart, I’m sure.

Update:

Wednesday Numbers – Today was the best day, thus far, of in-person voting in the SD-6 Early Voting period. One number that stood out was participation at Ripley House, which had 120 votes today after a low of 24 on Tuesday. I wonder if Joaquin Martinez’s Flash Vote helped?

Hopefully, this upward trend will continue.

Update:

Kuff has a more obsessive exhaustive take on the money. And Marc covers everyone who is obsessed with SD-6).

What About the Latina Wage Gap?

The National Partnership for Women and Families released some new information found in the most recent Census:  Latinas are getting hit worse by the gender wage gap.

In the 20 states with the largest number of Latinas who work full time, year round, the wage gap ranges from 51 and 68 cents for every dollar paid to men in those states.

The fact that there is a wage gap isn’t a surprise, but as women are said to make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, the fact that Latinas are making even less is cause for concern, and in the case of the National Partnership, action.

“Women of color are hard hit by a kind of perfect – and perfectly devastating – storm caused by discrimination, a struggling economy and the country’s failure to adopt family friendly workplace policies,” said Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “These new data show that the wage gap is costing women of color thousands of dollars in critical income each year that could be spent on food, rent, health care and on meeting other fundamental needs for their families. It’s an unacceptable situation that should be a resounding wake-up call for lawmakers who have the power to do something about it.”

When one looks at it in real dollar figures:

Nationally, Latinas are paid just 60 cents for every dollar paid to all men. That amounts to a loss of $19,182 each year. In general, women of color fare worse than women overall, who are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to all men – or $11,084 less per year.

The National Partnership is supporting the Paycheck Fairness Act which would close loopholes to the Equal Pay Act and provide for stronger worker protections for women. This is definitely something that we must support.

The National Partnership’s findings for the 20 states with the largest numbers of employed Latinas and African American women can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/LatinaGap and www.NationalPartnership.org/AAGap. More information on the wage gap can be found at www.NationalPartnership.org/FairPay.

VP Biden: Hispanics Are All That And A Bag of Tostitos

Well, VP Joe Biden sorta said that. What he actually said was:

“What’s finally happened is the American people, the American people have finally begun to understand …the awesome potential, future potential of the Hispanic community,” he said Thursday at a welcome reception for new Latino members of Congress. “…Now the nation — and I might add the hemisphere — understands the Hispanic community must be courted. Must be courted.”

Of course, as I always say, it’s all about policy. And VP Biden didn’t ignore the policy implications of what he stated.

At the same time, the vice president said the deferrals are “only a small part of what has to be done.” But he also said that he believes Republicans have had a “rapid epiphany” since the election about immigration reform.

Obviously, Latinos are not only about immigration reform, but it is the one issue that Republicans, including their great brown hopes like Cruz and Rubio, have used as their means of pumping up their Tea Party base. In 2012, we all know how that went, but the message is clear:  Don’t target Latinos with hateful legislation if you want to win. And the message goes for Democrats, too.

At least the VP seems to get it.

“You’re the center of this nation’s future,” he said.

Event: GOLDEN Dinner and Tejano Dance – September 14

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 

GOLDEN: Giving Others Life to Dream Every Night Dinner & Tejano Dance is a Go Gold initiative organized by a group of individuals concerned about the awareness of childhood cancers in the Latino community.

All proceeds raised from ticket sales will go directly to the American Childhood Cancer Organization (ACCO). whose mission is to address the needs of families through programs that emphasize information, advocacy, awareness, and research.   ACCO provides:

  • Free Kits to families affected by childhood cancers in Spanish & English.  Kits include books and videos to help family members cope with cancer.
  • Funds for child cancer research
  • Literature about chldhood cancers

Your contribution will help fund ACCO initiatives.   $15 will put one of the many available books in the hands of a child with cancer, $25 will give a book to the child’s teacher, and $100 will give a full set of materials to a family in need of them.  More information about materials can be found at http://www.acco.org

Local organizations that provide resources to families and childen affected by childhood cancers will be present to share resources and promote volunteer oppurtunities.

Go Gold and join us for this very worthy cause:  “because kids can’t fight cancer alone.”

BBQ Dinner & Resource Expo   6pm-7:30 pm

Tejano Dance                                7:30 pm-11pm

BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE 

Be prepared to dance the night away to the best Tejano hits.  Cash bar will be available.

The suport of the following organizations is greatly appreciated:

Camp Innovation

H-E-B

Latinos. Engaged. United. Voting

Mia’s Closet

National Hispanic Professional Organization

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church

Thursday in Houston: Latinos for Erica Lee

Fact:  I support Erica Lee for Harris County School Board. Erica is in a run-off after running an energetic, grassroots campaign. That’s the kind of community energy we need on our local school boards.

Thursday, HISD Trustee Juliet Stipeche will be hosting, along with many others, Latinos for Erica Lee. I think my colleague, Dr. Rey Guerra, said it best:

Not only has Erica Lee been a community leader and extremely supportive on issues impacting Latinos, but she is the most qualified candidate in this race. African Americans and Latinos have been hit hard by budget and policy decisions affecting K-12 education, so, there has never been a more important time to elect qualified advocates, like Erica, to school boards.

Here’s the poster. Feel free to share! (Click to enlarge)