May Highlights with Latina Institute Virginia

May has been an incredible month for the Latina Institute Virginia, filled with empowering events, meaningful conversations, and exciting new beginnings. From our Cafecito on public speaking to celebrating Pride and engaging with youth, our community has been active and vibrant. We also had the honor of participating in an international gathering of reproductive justice advocates and welcoming a new key team member. Here’s a detailed look at our May highlights.

May Cafecito: Introduction to Public Speaking

This month, our Cafecito focused on an essential skill for advocacy: public speaking. Latina Institute State Trainer, Daniela, led a fantastic training session that introduced participants to the fundamentals of effective public speaking. We explored various ways to share our stories and passions for reproductive justice in the public square, emphasizing the importance of personal narratives in driving change.

Participants had the opportunity to put their newfound skills into practice, engaging in hands-on exercises that boosted their confidence and communication abilities. A huge shout out to Daniela for her expert guidance, and to Alyssa (State Field Organizer) and Arlin (VA State Fellow) for organizing and spearheading this successful event. Your dedication and hard work made it an empowering experience for all involved.

Alexandria Pride

In the spirit of celebrating diversity and inclusion, our State Field Organizer, Alyssa, recently attended and tabled at Alexandria City Pride. Joined by other poderosas and VA reproductive partners, Alyssa engaged in deeper conversations about what reproductive justice means to individuals in the community. This interactive approach allowed folks to express their thoughts through writing or art, fostering a sense of connection and shared purpose.

The day was filled with joy and vibrant energy, marking a perfect start to Pride Month in Northern Virginia. The event highlighted the intersectionality of reproductive justice and LGBTQ+ rights, reinforcing our commitment to advocating for all marginalized communities.

Project Insight at Latin American Youth Center

Earlier this month, Alyssa took part in a panel discussion at the Latin American Youth Center, sponsored by Project Insight. This initiative aims to educate DC youth on a broad spectrum of health autonomy, aligning perfectly with our mission of promoting reproductive justice.

Alyssa had the opportunity to speak about the mission of reproductive justice and its impact on our Latine communities in the DMV area. The panel also included advocates from SMYAL, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ youth, and the Walter Whitman clinic. This collaborative experience underscored the importance of advocating for individuals at every stage of life, highlighting that reproductive justice and liberation require collective effort and solidarity.

Green Wave Gathering

Our VA State Manager, Khenia, attended the Green Wave Convening in Mexico City this past month. This significant event brought together global reproductive justice and rights advocates from Canada to Patagonia. The convening was an opportunity to learn from each other’s experiences with abortion laws and advocacy, and to share resources and tools for advancing reproductive justice.

Despite the ongoing threats and attacks on bodily autonomy, the gathering was a testament to the resilience and dedication of advocates across the Americas. It was also a beautiful celebration of the hard work being done, providing attendees with a much-needed respite and the chance to connect with colleagues and peers in the movement.

Spotlight on Katherine 

We are thrilled to spotlight fellow Virginia Poderosa, Katherine (she/her/ella), who is now the new Director of Government Relations here at Latina Institute!

Bio: Kat recently served as the Associate Director for U.S. Global Policy at Fòs Feminista. In this role, she designed and led Fòs Feminista’s first U.S. Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice (SRHRJ) Strategy. Her work included advising the U.S. Congress and Administration on abortion in U.S. foreign assistance and SRHRJ at the United Nations.

Kat’s leadership skills and ability to build coalitions are evident in her roles as a co-convener/chair of the Women’s Rights Caucus, the Sexual and Reproductive Health Roundtable, and the Global AIDS Policy Partnership. Her previous positions, including Policy Advisor for Sexual Health and Rights at the American Jewish World Service, Program Officer at the International Women’s Health Coalition, and Senior Health Educator at Falls Church Healthcare Center (an indie-abortion clinic), demonstrate her deep commitment to reproductive justice.

Most importantly, Kat credits the Latina Institute Virginia for introducing her to the reproductive justice framework and movement. She has been a proud Poderosa since 2016! Kat holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University and is fluent in Spanish, conversational in French, and Portuñol (Portuguese and Spanish). In her spare time, she enjoys designing jewelry for her Etsy shop and relaxing with her husband and their four fur babies: two dogs (Cami and Kandee) and two cats (Nairobi and Tokio).

Thank you to everyone who participated and supported these events throughout May. Your dedication and engagement are the driving forces behind our work in advancing reproductive justice. Stay tuned for more updates and ways to get involved. Together, we are making a difference and advocating for a more just and equitable future.

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