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Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice

August 5, 2011

This week, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and other organizations have been observing the second annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice:

This year’s theme is Caminamos: Justice for Immigrant Women. We’re inviting everyone to join us in moving toward a brighter future for immigrant women and their families. Mean-spirited enforcement, workplace exploitation, and the criminalization of basic rights like education and health care are just a few of the challenges that have forced immigrant women into the shadows and ignored the crucial, positive role we play in our communities.

Action items for the week include calling for a review of the 287(g) program and online discussion on the theme, “what’s the real problem behind the targeting of immigrant women?” – including a blog carnival with lots of great posts worth reading, and NLIRH’s posts at their blog Nuestra Vida, Nuestra Voz.

I haven’t read all of the posts yet myself, but one I particularly liked is at Abortion Gang, where the writer talks about appropriate reproductive health care requiring more than just Spanish-language services:

…if we want to provide “culturally competent” health care services (and I’m not just talking about abortion care), we need to be constantly learning from and with our patients. We have to be more than “culturally competent.” We need to be culturally fluent…a lack of understanding of the diverse Latina/o cultures keeps immigrant women from getting the care they need. Lack of cultural understanding breeds intolerance and scapegoating. We need to speak more than Spanish; we need to comprehend the language of experience.

Another good one is What’s the Real Problem? Some families are valued while others are demonized at the NLIRH, blog, which criticizes devaluing of families of color generally and my least favorite libertarian Ron Paul specifically, for his views on protecting fetuses and denying citizenship to American-born children of immigrants via the 14th amendment:

The two different approaches to the Fourteenth Amendment reveal a subtext of whose children are wanted and valued. The fetuses of white women are offered constitutional protection, while the lives of immigrant women of color are dismissed and demonized. In the United States, immigrants are denied benefits while being blamed for environmental degradation, the recession, and lack of jobs. They are also portrayed as coming to the United States solely for the purpose of having children who are then raised to be terrorists. Anti-immigrant advocates are the same people who spout pro-life rhetoric and claim to be protecting family values.

Go check out the blog carnival for more.

While not reproductive justice-focused, Aunt B points to and remarks on this 287(g)-related story out of Nashville, in which a teenage girl just about to graduate from high school was taken to jail and spent almost 3 days there for driving without a license (which I don’t believe she could have obtained under state law). The 18 year-old, who was brought to the U.S. by her parents as a child 9 years ago and has hopes of attending college and med school, may be deported. The local implementation of 287(g) has been criticized for being heavy-handed in targeting Latino/a immigrants for deportation for such non-violent crimes as driving without a license.

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