by Hedy Tripp, Times Writers Group
originally published at sctimes.com Nov 24, 2013
Immigrants are consumers, workers, taxpayers and entrepreneurs.
This is from the new report “The Economic Contributions of Immigrants in Minnesota” by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, which champions comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. The report further shows how immigrants are clearly assets (Asian and Latino buying power in St. Cloud was $45 million in 2009).
As part of a recent chamber panel in St. Cloud, I was impressed to see the openness displayed in listening to a diverse number of immigrant and refugee voices.
An important viewpoint shared by the panel was how first-generation immigrants sacrifice a great deal so their children have access to lives their parents could only dream about.
However, as some panelists pointed out, racism, discrimination and xenophobia are all common challenges for newcomers, especially newcomers of color, when they come to this country and to St. Cloud.
This has been the history of immigrants to the U.S. The Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882 was the first (and, at present, only) federal immigration law that targeted a race of people. It targeted Chinese workers and created a legacy of hatred against Asians in America.
As an immigrant woman, I am acutely aware that 75 percent of immigrants and refugees are women and children.
Gloria Steinem, speaking Nov. 19 at the We Belong Together National Press Club event, talked about why immigration reform is a top women’s issue. Steinem stressed we need to see immigrants as they really are.
She challenged us to question what this nation needs as a workforce besides high-tech jobs. She pointed out that as our population ages and lives longer, we are going to need workers for domestic care, elder care, etc., who are dominated by the “talented labor of women and often are immigrant women.”
We need more than 1 in 3 work visas going to women. We are still fighting for gender equality.
As an Asian-American naturalized citizen, I am also aware that Asian-Americans constitute almost 30 percent of our country’s immigrant population.
As part of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, I have been a strong advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. Almost 1.5 million of the 11 million aspiring citizens who are living in the shadows are Asian-American. Asian-American communities also suffer the longest separations from their families due to visa backlogs — especially women from Japan, the Philippines and Thailand.
Immigration is about families. Immigrants have always relied on families for success. According to MomsRising, 5 million children in the U.S. fear being separated from their parents.
We need common-sense immigration reform that treats women and children fairly. The House needs to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill that prevents families, including LGBT families, from being torn apart. Immigrants and refugees have rights, too — to health care and other assistance. They also need a clear road map to citizenship.
So the question goes back to whether we are willing — as the chamber report noted — to “act with economic and cultural self-confidence in the presence of globalization, and continue to welcome immigrants?”
Are we willing to live next to these new families and be open to learning new cultures? Are we willing to share the power of leading our city with our newer immigrants and refugees?
Are we willing to invite not only into our homes, but into our businesses, boards, commissions and councils qualified and diverse leaders from these communities and listen to their points of view?
The goal of racial justice and gender and economic equity will strengthen our communities and build a unified St. Cloud.]]>
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, November 14, 2013
CONTACT: Shivana Jorawar, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, D.C.— The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) applauds the introduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act. The bill would create federal protections against state restrictions on women’s health that intrude upon personal decision-making. It includes protections against reason-based restrictions, including sex-selective abortion bans.
The bill was introduced on Wednesday by Representatives Judy Chu (D-CA), Lois Frankel (D-FL) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH), along with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).
NAPAWF Executive Director Miriam Yeung stated:
“The vast majority—69 percent—of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women and men believe abortion is a private matter government should not interfere in. Since 2011, over 100 dangerous and unnecessary measures that obstruct a woman’s personal decision-making have passed into law.”
“We thank Rep. Judy Chu and her colleagues for working to protect women’s health and constitutional rights. Every pregnant woman faces her own unique circumstances and potential challenges, and she must be able to make her own decisions.”
“We are especially pleased this bill fights back against deceptive sex-selective abortion bans that are spreading like wildfire in the states. Over 60 of these bans have been proposed since 2009. Put forth by conservative politicians attempting to chip away at abortion rights under the guise of women’s equality, they promote negative stereotypes about Asian American women, encourage racial profiling in the doctor’s office, and do nothing to further equality for women.”]]>
Last week, women have been showing Congress that immigration reform can’t wait and that a vote against immigration reform is a vote against women. Scroll down for a recap of the what we’ve done this week to show Congress that women and families aren’t going to stop until we win fair immigration reform.
Help us keep up the momentum — call your Representative at (800) 490-2010 and urge them to support immigration reform that keeps families together and treats women fairly!
Nearly 200 women rallied outside Representative McCarthy’s. McCarthy refused to meet, so 13 women — the Baker’s (field) Dozen! — waited in the lobby for him to change his mind even though they were not allowed food or drink while inside. After 10 hours of waiting, McCarthy came out of his home with his wife to the office at 11pm and met with the women for about half an hour. McCarthy didn’t agree to sign a pledge to lead the way for immigration reform that’s fair to women, but he told the women he was serious about solving the problem.
33 women, including NAPAWF chapter leader Priscilla Kyu, were arrested at the Republican Party Headquarters in Bellevue after refusing to leave the premises. The women sang “we shall overcome” and chanted “the people united shall never be defeated!” as the police arrived to arrest them. In response to the spirited protest, the Washington GOP office issued a statement saying they supported immigration reform, to which the women replied: “We need action, not words!”
After a rally calling on Representatives Joyce and Jordan to support a fair and just immigration reform, a crowd of women took over an intersection in downtown Cleveland near the Federal Building. Nine women including labor and faith leaders were arrested for blocking the intersection and for shining a light on the need for immigration reform that’s fair to women and keeps families together.
70 people, 65 of them women, rallied to demand a meeting with Representative Mario Diaz-Balart. Rather than meeting with them, Diaz-Balart’s staff called the police who locked the door to the office building, barred their entrance, and said that only 50 people would be allowed to outside. The 50 who were allowed to stay rallied until Rosana Araujo, an undocumented immigrant and domestic worker who has lived and worked in Diaz-Balart’s district for 10 years, was allowed into the building to deliver a statement to his staffers. She came back out in tears, reporting that the staffers said Diaz-Balart would not sign onto HR15 because he wanted to advance his own bill, and that people from all the protesting organizations were not welcome back at their office. In response, the women are planning to return.
35 members of the TIRRC Women’s Committee raised a balloon banner outside of Representative Marsha Blackburn’s office in Franklin, TN. Blackburn’s staffer initially refused to meet with them, but eventually cracked open the door and allowed them to deliver their message. The women demanded that Rep. Blackburn withdraw her support for the SAFE Act, explained the impact it would have on women and families, and demanded that she instead embrace immigration reform that treats women and families fairly.
35 Women visited Representative Pittenger’s office and delivered a heart filled with photographs of women and children from his district who are impacted by our failed immigration system. The delivery was led by women whose husbands are currently facing deportation. His staffers, though a little shocked at the numbers of women suddenly filling their office, received them and thanked them for coming and said they would deliver the heart and their message to Rep. Pittenger. This action was fully organized by 5 undocumented women.
35 women including mothers and their children marched to the Republican Party headquarters in Atlanta and delivered their representatives a balloon banner with a message — it’s time for their party to take responsibility to advance immigration reform!
50 people rallied outside Texas Republican Headquarters in Odessa, TX after a meeting with the Republican members of Congress and their staff to urge them to push their party leaders to move forward on fair immigration reform. The rally featured all women speakers, testimony from undocumented women, and a DREAMer from a mixed status family carrying a balloon banner that read: “Women to Republicans: fair immigration reform now!”
Dozens of people rallied outside Rep. Paul Ryan’s office in Racine, urging him to take action on immigration reform that’s fair to women and keeps families together. 12 women, including three generations of the Anguiano family — daughter Cecilia, mother Sofia, and grandmother Luz Maria took over the street in front of his office. The women were issued citations and vowed to continue to fight for immigration reform that allows families to be together.
The government shutdown lasted for an inexcusable 16 days and cost taxpayers a whopping 24 billion dollars. House Republicans held the country hostage to their demands of repealing Obamacare and even attempted to restrict women’s access to contraception and preventative care in this budget battle. Congress wasn’t able to reach an agreement until hours before the U.S. would have gone into default from our national loans.
The federal shutdown severely impacted hundreds of thousands of federal workers and a wide range of federally supported programs, including education, housing and health programs that our communities rely on. Programs for women and children, like Head Start and the Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for women, infants and children (WIC), were severely affected. Further, women make up the majority of “nonessential” government employees who were put on furlough, and are also the majority of new Social Security applicants who had to wait until the government is back in business to get the financial support they need.
While Congress ultimately reached an agreement, it was only a temporary fix, funding the government until January. We need a sustainable, long-standing budget that doesn’t hold our country hostage.
Despite some House Republicans’ best efforts, enrollment for the Affordable Care Act began on October 1. About 2 million uninsured Asian American and Pacific Islanders will be able to receive affordable health coverage through the exchanges. While there are technological difficulties being worked through, like the website and long call center wait times, the plans are a win for women. They will include birth control and pregnancy care, well-woman visits, emergency care, hospital stays, mental health and more. Financial aid is available to help women and families afford private health insurance plans, and some low-income people will be able to get free or very low-cost public insurance. You can get help applying for coverage and choosing a plan by visiting a non-profit “navigator” agency in your neighborhood, calling a help line or going on line.
For more resources on how you can enroll today, visit:
Local and in-language help
Raising Women’s Voices
Women 4 Healthcare
On October 8th, thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C. to demand comprehensive immigration reform. Hundreds were arrested, including Congressmembers Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. Charlie Rangel (NY), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), Rep. Joe Crowley (NY), Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ), Rep. Luis Gutierrez (IL), Rep. Keith Ellison (MN), and Rep. Al Green (TX). NAPAWF applauds these legislators for their commitment and leadership during this time.
President Obama addressed the nation on October 23 with leaders of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) standing behind him. He called on the House to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority and fix our broken immigration system. Read NCAPA’s statement here.
On October 2, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Caucus introduced HB 15, an immigration bill that closely resembles the Senate version. The bill provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and clears the visa backlog that has kept people from reuniting with their families for years—this is an especially positive provision for the AAPI community, because the largest number of people waiting to be reunited with their families are in Asian countries. Some Filipino families have been waiting upwards of 20 years. The bill also provides worker protections for women working in the informal sector. While the bill includes many great provisions, NAPAWF is still advocating for it to include healthcare access for new immigrants and to preserve visa categories for adult children and siblings.
As we gear up for the holidays, we are starting our annual “Wish for the Holidays” campaign. There are 5.5 million children in the U.S. with at least one parent who is at risk of being deported. Millions of families have been separated by a seemingly endless backlog in the family visa system.
There is a way through now. The U.S. Senate has passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would keep millions of families together. But the House of Representatives still needs to act. Congress needs to hear directly from the voices of our future: our children. Our kids and our families cannot wait any longer.
Through A Wish for the Holidays, thousands of young people will write letters and draw pictures to share one powerful wish with Congress: “Keep our families together! Pass fair immigration reform now!” In December, we’ll deliver these letters to Washington, DC, demanding that Congress take action. Click here to get involved!
Juana Villegas finally settled a five-year legal battle regarding her detainment by Davidson County police and being forced to give birth shackled to a hospital bed in 2008. She received $490,000 for what she went through. Villegas was stopped for a traffic violation and then was taken into custody and detained because of her immigration status. She was nine months pregnant and was forced to give birth to her son in prison. Villegas was shackled to a bed throughout her labor, and prevented from seeing her newborn son for two days after. Villegas’ case is a prime example of reproductive injustice and how a woman’s immigration status can severely impact her reproductive choice and freedom. Immigrant women make up 51% of all immigrants, and their immigration status affects their access to healthcare and the consequences they face for minor offenses. Instead of a simple traffic citation, Villegas was placed in prison and forced to give birth while shackled.
Unfortunately, shackling incarcerated pregnant women while giving birth is not an uncommon occurrence. While there is no longer a federal law requiring incarcerated women to be shackled during delivery, only 13 States have banned this practice. In most state prisons, local jails and detention centers, restraints are routinely used on pregnant women when they are in labor and when they deliver their children. The practice of shackling is unnecessary and inhumane and goes beyond appropriate punishment for a crime.
On October 9th Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 154, which expands access to abortion care. The bill allows nurse practitioners and other qualified health professionals to perform the procedure during the first trimester of pregnancy after completing specific training and complying with standardized medical protocols.
California is a leader in improving access to abortion care. This bill is a big step forward in helping women in rural areas where there may not be providers. Additionally, this bill may ultimately cut the cost of abortion care, which we know is a significant barrier for many women. California has the second largest AAPI population in the country and this will significantly benefit AAPI women who need abortion care.
Governor Brown also signed AB 980, which requires that all primary clinics are treated the same under the state building code, regardless of whether they provide abortions. While other states are passing restrictive building codes for abortion clinics in order to drive them out of business, California is ensuring that clinics providing abortions aren’t being singled out.
This October, the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) implemented the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is our nation’s main response to domestic and sexual violence. This law, passed in February and signed by President Obama in March, explicitly addresses lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors of violence for the first time.
VAWA names LGBT people as underserved populations in need of specific attention to address the unique issues they face as survivors of domestic or intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual violence and stalking and it prohibits VAWA grantees from discriminating against survivors of violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity when providing services.
A Nebraska state court denied a 16 year old girl’s request to bypass parental consent requirements in order to obtain an abortion. A ward of the state, her biological parents had their parental rights removed when it was proved that they were physically abusive and chemically dependent.
The court deemed that the girl was not “mature enough” to make this type of decision, despite her showing of mature reasoning at a legal hearing. She worried that she didn’t have the financial resources to support a child or to be “the right mom that I would like to be right now.” Somehow, according to the court’s logic, she’s too “immature” to have an abortion but “mature enough” to have a child.
Nebraska is one of eight states that require notarized consent for a minor to obtain an abortion. Thirty-nine states require at least some level of parental involvement. This is a harsh example of how these parental consent requirements significantly block abortion access for those who need care most.
Twenty-eight year old Alicia Beltran was arrested and detained at a drug treatment facility in Wisconsin because authorities thought she was a danger to her fetus. Beltran confided in health-care workers about her prior use of painkillers and her efforts to end that use on her own during an early prenatal care visit. Despite no evidence that she was using drugs while pregnant, Beltran was arrested after refusing to take an anti-addiction drug on the grounds. Beltran was refused a lawyer, but found out that the Judge already granted her fetus its own lawyer. National Advocates for Pregnant Women is seeking Beltran’s immediate release and is a leading organization working on the issue of criminalization of pregnant and parenting women.
Wisconsin is one of four states, along with Minnesota, Oklahoma and South Dakota, with laws specifically granting authorities the power to confine pregnant women for substance abuse. But many other states use civil-confinement, child-protection or assorted criminal laws to force women into treatment programs or punish them for taking drugs.
For example, in Indiana, Chinese immigrant Bei Bei Shuai was charged with murder of her child because she attempted suicide while she was pregnant by consuming rat poison. While suicide is considered a mental health condition and not a crime, Shuai was charged with murder after the baby died three days after Shuai gave birth.
Extremists are “protecting fetal rights” to the exclusion of the health and life of the mother. Locking up a pregnant woman does not help the woman or the child. Advocates have challenged the Wisconsin law.
Only three days after a federal judge blocked a new Texas law that threatened to shut down many of the state’s abortion clinics, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit reversed the decision, saying the rule should take effect while the case is argued. This case will stop as many as 13 of the 36 clinics from providing abortions in the state.
These clinics have been unable to satisfy an unnecessary, burdensome requirement targeted at abortion providers that doctors performing the procedure must have formal admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic. Texas is home to the third highest number of Asian women in the country, following California and New York.
US District Judge Lee Yeakel blocked part of the extremely restrictive law. Yeakel struck down requiring doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Yeakel ruled the provision unconstitutional because it is an “undue burden” for women seeking an abortion. The Texas Attorney General appealed the decisions. The case is likely to move on to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
A New York judge has decided to consider a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy as potential evidence that she is unfit to parent her two young children. 38-year-old Lisa Mehos had an abortion nearly a year after she divorced her husband. Because she did not tell her ex-husband about the decision, his lawyers are arguing there is proof of her dishonesty and emotional instability and her credibility should be in question. Mehos said “The court jumped at the chance to use the stigma of abortion to openly scorn, interrogate, and question my ability to be a worthy parent,” she noted.
Abortion is much more common than most Americans may realize. We just don’t talk about it. One in three U.S. women has had an abortion in her lifetime, and AAPI women are not an exception. Although very few reports exist on the rate at which AAPI women are utilizing abortion services, those that do exist suggest a relatively high use of abortion among specific ethnic subpopulations, most notably Chinese American, Korean American, and Thai women.
Contrary to preconceived notions about the “trauma” of ending a pregnancy, research has consistently found that it’s not inherently an emotionally damaging experience. And, when women who have abortions do have negative emotions associated with it, it’s often a result of the societal stigma that surrounds it — they worry about other people finding out and judging them. This issue of stigma is especially salient for women in our community, who experience some of the highest rates of mental health conditions and suicide.]]>
The lawsuit challenged a state law that relies on harmful racial stereotypes to shame and discriminate against black, Asian American and Pacific Islander women who decide to end their pregnancies. Miriam Yeung, executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, released the following statement in response to the dismissal:
“We are disappointed the court refused to hear this case, instead choosing to dismiss it on procedural grounds. This law unfairly stereotypes Asian American and African American women and perpetuates anti-immigrant sentiment. The court’s denial that stigma causes real harm is misguided and frankly false. We, and the millions of women of color who live with bias every day, understand its real-world impact on our health and our livelihood.
“Racial discrimination is unconstitutional, and we’re working with our legal team to determine next steps for putting an end to this bigoted law.”]]>
San Diego, CA
In our AP(eye) on the Hill newsletter, we share recent events impacting Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls. In this issue, we celebrate victories but also shed light on how political posturing is harming women — from the budget debate, to immigrant rights and reproductive justice.
Conservative politicians are hell-bent on keeping Americans from having affordable health care. During the last week, they held the nation’s budget hostage in order to get the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) defunded. As a result of their ideological crusade, on September 30, the budget was not passed in time and the federal government shut down on October 1. The shutdown is expected to cost taxpayers an estimated 2 billion dollars and place 800,000 federal workers on furlough.
The shutdown impacts women and children the most. The Special Supplemental Nutritional Program for women, infants and children (WIC) program has been shut down. Women make up the majority of “nonessential” government employees who will be put on furlough, and are also the majority of new Social Security applicants who will have to wait until the government is back in business to get the financial support they need. House Republicans also unsuccessfully attempted to use this fight to postpone until 2015 the requirement that employers cover birth control as part of their health insurance packages.
And now, the people responsible for this are shifting blame to the President and hoping we forget it’s their fault.
Despite the shutdown, the Affordable Care Act is still going into effect. The new health insurance marketplaces became open for enrollment on October 1, creating opportunities for uninsured women and their families to get covered. Approximately 2 million uninsured Asian American and Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders will now have access to insurance coverage.
The new health plans will also cover the care women need, including birth control and pregnancy care, well-woman visits, emergency care, hospital stays, mental health and more. Financial aid is available to help women and families afford private health insurance plans, and some low-income people will be able to get free or very low-cost public insurance. You can get help applying for coverage and choosing a plan by visiting a non-profit “navigator” agency in your neighborhood, calling a help line or going on line.
For more resources on how you can enroll today visit:
Local and in-language help
Raising Women’s Voices
Women 4 Healthcare
On September 12, 105 women, including two NAPAWF-DC chapter leaders, were arrested for protesting the inaction of the House of Representatives on comprehensive immigration policy reform. The We Belong Together campaign, anchored by NAPAWF and the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance, blocked the intersection in front of the House offices for 20 minutes, chanting and holding hands as they were arrested for civil disobedience. It was a powerful moment that left many onlookers in tears. Media like the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Rachel Maddow covered the event.
As activists and advocates continue to fight for immigration reform, over 100 cities will engage in rallies and events for immigration reform this Saturday, October 5th. To find an event near you, please visit: http://octoberimmigration.org/events
With House Republicans refusing to move on budget or immigration issues, House Democrats have been stepping up. On Tuesday, October 2, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Caucus introduced a bill almost identical to the bill that came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. While NAPAWF applauds and supports bill, which provides a path to citizenship, we are concerned over the lack of sibling and adult children visas, which will significantly impact the AAPI community, as well as the restrictions on affordable health care and public benefits for aspiring citizens.
The face of immigration is growing increasingly female and Asian. AAPIs now constitute 27.7 percent of the country’s immigrant population and are the fastest growing racial group in the nation. In 2011, 51.1 percent of all foreign-born individuals residing in the United States—and 55 percent of all people obtaining a green card—were women.
While NAPAWF applauds and supports the bill, which provides a path to citizenship, we are concerned over the lack of sibling and adult children visas, which will significantly impact the AAPI community, as well as the restrictions on affordable health care and public benefits for aspiring citizens.
As Congress slowly gets its act together, over 140 actions will take place across the country this week and on Saturday, October 5 to lift up the voices of people for fair immigration policies. In Washington, D.C., thousands of people will gather on the National Mall to bring their message to Congress. To find an event near you, please click here.
September was Abortion Access Month and Tuesday, September 30th marked the 37th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, a ban on federal public insurance coverage of abortion. This measure, approved by Congress every year, hurts low-income women and women of color the most—including AAPI women who rely on Medicaid. 1 in 10 Asian Americans, 1 in 7 Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, and 1 in 5 Southeast Asians rely on Medicaid. Without the ability to access it, the right to abortion is meaningless.
NAPAWF spent the week leading up to September 30th highlighting the harm Hyde does to AAPI women. Read Executive Director Miriam Yeung’s article on how Hyde Amendment hurts women of color, coauthored by Jessica Gonzales Rojas of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Eleanor Hinton Hoytt of the Black Women’s Health Imperative.
On September 17, the Obama Administration announced that homecare workers throughout the United States would finally receive the same protections as workers in almost every other field—protections like minimum wage and overtime payment. Many AAPI women are employed in homecare, and have been without these protections for far too long.
Until now, workers who provide home assistance to elderly people and people with disabilities were excluded—along with a few other groups, like farmworkers—from full protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The change will affect nearly 2 million workers, 90 percent of whom are female and 50 percent of whom are minorities, throughout the United States.
Soon after the Obama Administration granted worker protections to direct care workers, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights on September 26. California is home to the nation’s largest AAPI population. The California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights guarantees domestic workers basic labor protections, like overtime pay and meal breaks. California’s new law will finally provide overtime pay to an estimated 200,000 California housekeepers, child care providers and caregivers when they work more than nine hours in a day or forty-five hours a week.
The domestic workforce in the US is primarily composed of immigrant women who are usually the primary income earners for their families. There are about 200,000 domestic workers in California, and the vast majority of AAPI domestic workers are foreign-born.
CA Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), the sponsor of the bill, noted that “Domestic workers are primarily women of color, many of them immigrants, and their work has not been respected in the past…Now, they will be entitled to overtime, like just about every other California working person.”
The issue of sex selection is not only being used to promote anti-Asian abortion bans in the U.S., it is also being exploited internationally. On September 10, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) called a hearing to consider the issue of sex selective abortion in India. Despite the veil of women’s rights language, it quickly became clear that Rep. Chris Smith’s main concern was restricting abortion and defunding the United Nations Population Fund. NAPAWF founding sister Mallika Dutt, President and CEO of Breakthrough, was the sole Democratic witness at the hearing. Breakthrough works to address violence against women domestically and internationally, and works on the ground in the Indian district most affected by son preference. While conservatives repeatedly asked Mallika outlandish questions, she was firm in her repeated statements that “you cannot protect women by taking away their rights.” Son preference, which can result in sex selection, is an issue. However, attacking women’s health is not the solution. We must address the underlying cause—gender inequity. Click here to read Mallika’s article on the hearing.
On September 25, The New York City Council passed the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which aims to better protect the rights of pregnant women in the workforce. Under the legislation — introduced by Council member James Vacca (D) — employers with at least four employees must provide reasonable accommodations, without penalizing the worker, for pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions.
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has introduced similar legislation at the federal level. New York State has one of the country’s largest and fastest growing AAPI populations, increasing 35 percent over the last decade — the majority of AAPI New Yorkers reside in New York City.
Due to the new state law on facilities that offer abortions, four abortion clinics in rural Texas have closed and three others will likely close soon. Texas has the third largest AAPI population in the country. Women’s health groups are suing Texas, challenging the legislation.
The law imposes regulations on abortion providers that are underhandedly designed to force them to close. One of the provisions requires that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, but many doctors have been unable to obtain the privileges. Clinic administrators say the standards require costly changes that some cannot afford. The law also bans abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless a woman’s life is in danger, requires that abortions be performed at an ambulatory surgical center and mandates that physicians administer medication abortion drugs in person]]>
Visit the Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/events/1445284242364339/
And read more about the mobilizations here:
Wow, I got arrested.
Today I stood side by side with 100 other women including leaders of immigrant rights, community advocates and undocumented immigrant women to demand the House to pass immigration reform that is inclusive of the unique needs of women and families.
Like many immigrant parents, mine wanted to move to the United States to give my brother and I an opportunity to thrive and better our lives.
We are now living that dream, however, our current immigration system does not allow the same equal opportunity for all families. In fact, it tears them apart and children worry that they will have to continue living in the shadows and that their families will be separated due to outdated laws.
We must demand that the House be able to work on more than one piece of legislation at a time, have more honest dialogue and ensure the voices of those directly impacted are involved. I am an ally and got arrested today for friends, DREAMers, and the 11 million undocumented immigrants. The time is now.
NAPAWF-DC Chapter Co-Chair
No Rest for the Weary
I am taking over the streets of Capitol Hill with over 100 women
Today, at this very moment, I am under arrest from engaging in a non-violent civil disobedient action for immigrant, civil and worker rights. Led by We Belong Together, women of mixed immigration status’ from all over the country convened in Washington DC to send a strong and urgent message to Congress. “Pass Immigration Reform Now!” (watch the action unfold live at americasvoiceonline.org/livestream)
I am risking arrest for the hope that Yves Gomes, a DREAMer from Maryland will one day soon reunite with his mother – who left India and worked her way through the higher education in the U.S. to provide for her family. She was deported 4 years ago and is now thousands of mile away from her two sons.
I am fighting for immigration reform in solidarity with trafficked workers from overseas like Ingrid Cruz, a passionate teacher from the Philippines and H-1B visa holder living in Louisiana. Along with hundreds of teachers, she was exploited and abused by labor recruiters with a history of felony offenses.
I am speaking out on the importance and successes of family unity like Christine Lien Nguyen, a United Domestic Worker (UDW) rank and file member in Orange County, CA. The aftermath of the Vietnam war forced her family to spread across the continent. It was only through sibling sponsorship that she was able to reunite with her brother in the U.S. and re-establish a life for her own children.
I am inspired by Ainee Athar, Lundy Khoy, the late Tam Tran and other undocumented women leaders who share their story courageously. Though Tam Tran is no longer with us, the legacy of her work continues to redefine our understanding on what full citizenship means in this country. (Please watch Undocumented & Unafraid)
We shall overcome
I am a Vietnamese queer women of color and a daughter of refugee parents. As a U.S. citizen, I stand in solidarity with the 20 courageous undocumented women who took a huge risk in today’s action.
Now is the time to escalate in action and make our demands even louder. It’s time we ended the criminalization of undocumented immigrants, especially women.
Will you rise in action with over 100 women:
To stand up for our beliefs, we blocked the street in front of the Capitol while 300 allies and four members of Congress witnessed and cheered us on. We were each arrested, but it was a proud moment for us and for the deep-rooted American tradition of civil disobedience.
Continue reading at New America Media]]>