Latinas Empowered for Action (LEA) made its way to Fresno State on Friday, March 6, to spread the word of their cause.

Conference tackles health care, birth control

Latinas Empowered for Action (LEA) made its way to Fresno State on Friday, March 6, to spread the word of their cause.

That cause is to inform students and community members, mainly of the Latino community, about public policy and reproductive justice.

Access was the theme of the conference — gaining access to things like birth control, and proper health care for children and families.

The conference took place in the Alice Peters Auditorium in the Peters Business Building.

About 25 people attended and participated in the conference.

Reproductive rights a major focus

The conference was broken up into sections and went from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The presentation was interactive, giving the participants the ability to converse and ask questions.

One of the exercises was called “six chairs.” Six women from the audience were given common situations and told how to deal with them.

A few of the questions answered included trouble with receiving health care, how to talk to people to find the help one may need and questions regarding birth control and public policy.

The senior director of community mobilization programs for California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) Gabriela Villa spoke for most of the conference.

It is Villa’s job to do training to focus on community outreach to bring in community members for training, and to reach out to other social justices.

“We were talking about how reproductive justice really works at the intersection of issues and so it’s equally important for us to build support with other justice organizations around the country,” Villa said.

Health science major Alida Espinoza came out because she believes in reproductive rights.

“I think that in the Latino community there are a lot of taboos related to contraceptive use and taboos on holding off to start a family when you get married,” Espinoza said.

Community involvement stressed

CLRJ is an organization based out of Los Angeles.

Although it is a very small organization, consisting of only five on staff, it still travels throughout the state, Villa explained.

Taking turns speaking along with Villa was Marisol Franco, the Policy and advocacy manager for CLRJ.

Franco explained that the main point of the conference and CLRJ is trying to make the connection the between Latino community and public policies.

“We have these somewhat great laws on the books, but they’re not reaching Latinas who have all these health disparities,” Franco said.

Franco went on to explain that to fix the disconnect between policies, they need to get involved in the process, to make sure these policies are reflecting our issues.

There are no other ways to address our issues if we are not getting involved.

Jessica Perez is getting involved in many ways. Perez is a senior, majoring in social work.

Perez has an internship on campus with the Foster Parenting Project, working with foster parents and doing training with them.

As part of the internship, Perez is sent out to a lot of different training events in order to expose her to different communities.

Working the system

A lot of the social work students are encouraged to go to lobby days in Sacramento California.

Lobby days is where CLRJ goes to the capitol building and give a presentation similar to Fridays.

Also, it may push for legislation to pass. There is a Fresno State grant that pays for all the expenses to send social work students to the capitol to participate.

On March 25 CLRJ will be heading to Sacramento for Reproductive Freedom Day. On April 25 it will be traveling back for the third annual Latina Reproductive Justice Policy Briefing.

Both Marisol Franco and Gabriela Villa will be attending the Sacramento sessions.