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Today We Stood #4ImmigrantWomen and Got Arrested

Written by Jessica González-Rojas and Kimberly Inez McGuire forRH Reality Check. This diary is cross-posted; commenters wishing to engage directly with the author should do so at the original post.

If you’re reading this, it’s because we have just been arrested. On Thursday morning, we stood outside Congress as part of a group of 100 women leaders, and we demanded "salud, dignidad, y justicia"—health, dignity, and justice—for immigrant women. We called on the House of Representatives to take action on immigration reform that recognizes the contributions, and reflects the needs and experiences, of immigrant women and families.

For years, we at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health have been mobilizing Latinas to advance reproductive justice for immigrant women, and early this year we redoubled our organizing and advocacy on these critical issues. On Thursday, we took our efforts one step further, accepting the risks of arrest and separation from our families because we know Congress needs to wake up, listen, and act. We participated in this action because we can no longer stand by while some policymakers ignore the need for inclusive, comprehensive immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship—and others like Rep. Steve King (R-IA) peddle tired, racist stereotypes and propose punishing restrictions on the health, success, and full integration of immigrant families into society.

By participating in an act of principled civil disobedience, we stand on the shoulders of leaders in women’s, civil, and human rights who have established a long and honored tradition of peaceful protest. This history includes many women, Latin@s, and people of color—people like the Puerto Ricans who protested the U.S. military presence in Culebra and Vieques, the women suffragists who were imprisoned for demanding a vote, and then force fed when they went on hunger strikes, and of course the legendary leaders of the U.S. civil rights movement like Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height. More recently, Latina DREAMers and immigrant advocates have led by example, engaging in civil disobedience and even infiltrating detention centers to call for compassionate, common sense immigration reform.

Today, we humbly add our names to these ranks, in hopes of helping to tip the scales toward justice.

 

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