National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health Celebrates Historic Wins for Women of Color Candidates in 2018 Midterm Elections; The Fight Continues
Washington, D.C. — Women of color candidates made history in the 2018 midterm elections. For the first time there is a record-breaking wave of women of color elected who have never seen any representation in Congress. The number of women of color Congressional representatives has reached an all-time high of 38 with the historic elections of the first two Muslim women, the first two Native American women (one of whom openly identifies as LGBTQ), the first two Texas’ Latinas, the first two Black women representing the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the youngest woman candidates.
In addition, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health celebrates the passage of ballot initiatives that advance transgender rights, Medicaid expansion, and the health and justice of people of color. We are excited to see the restoration of voting rights for those convicted of felonies in Florida through Yes on 4, and the rejection of Measure 106 in Oregon, which would have prohibited publicly funded health care programs from covering abortion.
“The 2018 midterm elections prove that women of color—specifically Black women—are a powerful and active voting bloc, and speak to the power we have as community of women of color to effect change,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). “We are excited to witness the groundbreaking elections of women of color candidates, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Veronica Escobar, and Sylvia García, as historic wins for Latinxs*, Black women, people of color, and communities who are often underrepresented at the highest level of office. By voting for progressive candidates, our communities confirmed that hate, racism, and xenophobia are not winning issues. The historic wave of women of color policymakers opens brand new opportunities for us to fight for the health, dignity, and justice of our communities. Now more than ever it is critical that we ensure we have policymakers who will stand on the right side of justice and fight for policies so that our families and communities can thrive. ”
“Through our non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts, NLIRH was able to reach out to 20,000 voters in Florida, Virginia, and Texas to encourage our community to turn out in an election where the stakes were high on issues ranging from immigration, education, health care, reproductive rights, employment and the environment,” González-Rojas added.
Historically, Latinx* voter turnout is among one of the lowest of any racial and ethnic group, but initial data regarding the 2018 elections mark a 15% increase in turnout and 6.9% increase in the Latino share of the vote from the 2014 midterm elections. In addition, despite harmful myths and stereotypes that typecast Latina/o voters as too conservative to support contraception and abortion, data clearly demonstrates that our community’s beliefs and needs support the full range of reproductive health care services. A groundbreaking poll released last week found that the vast majority of Latina/o voters (82%) do not see birth control through a religious lens, including 76% of Catholic respondents. The poll also underscores that a large majority of Latina/o voters (74%) want the new Supreme Court justice to uphold access to safe, legal abortion in the United States.
“While we suffered some disappointing losses, the midterms demonstrate that a campaign can be successfully run by centering a progressive agenda and pushing for structural change. We are proud to celebrate these historic victories, but the work is not done. NLIRH will keep working to build Latinx power and engage Latinx* community leaders in the political process. Our work will not be done until reproductive justice—in all of its dimensions—is a reality for everyone,” González-Rojas added.
For more information on NLIRH’s fight for health, dignity and justice, visit us at latinainstitute.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @NLIRH.
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 28 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.
*Note: NLIRH, conscious of the importance of the full range of gender identities, utilizes gender-neutral terms throughout our educational materials. “Latina/x” is a term that challenges the gender binary in the Spanish language and embraces the diversity of genders that often are actively erased from spaces. Due to the limitations of data collection, we use “Latina(s),” “Latino(s)” or “women” where research only shows findings for cisgender women, including Latinas.
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