Press Release: Leading Latino and Youth Organizations Launch Groundbreaking Effort to Combat Stigma and Silence Around Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues

EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: November 19, 2014
Chrissy Faessen

202.559.0125 chrissy@conwaystrategic.com

National Campaign – Yo Soy – Asks Latinos to Pledge Their Support to Start Talking

(Washington, D.C.) Today, some of the nation’s leading organizations representing Latinos and young people are joining forces in an effort to start a national dialogue within the Latino community on critical sexual and reproductive health and rights issues.

Advocates for Youth, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, the Hispanic Federation, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Voto Latino have joined forces to launch Yo Soy (iamyosoy.org), a national campaign to end the stigma and silence around sex education, birth control, abortion, and young parenting within the Latino community. “Latinas face significant barriers to attaining good health and economic security. These barriers can keep us in or push us into poverty. One of the barriers that we have control over is the silence and stigma about sexuality, birth control, young parents, and abortion in the Latino community,” said Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “This new campaign is critical to changing the way that reproductive health is talked about in our community,” González-Rojas added.

Yo Soy will raise visibility, spark conversations, and dispel myths and stereotypes around sexual and reproductive health and rights. The joint campaign will leverage the constituents, allies, expertise, and political savvy of these national organizations to engage Latinos in conversations about sexual and reproductive health and rights. Through town hall meetings, activist trainings, cafecitos, and a social media push, Latinos will interact with the campaign and in turn be armed with resources to talk about these issues with their family, friends, and within their communities.

In addition, it will ask individuals to pledge their support at www.iamyosoy.org. The pledge reads, “Health, sex, and family may be hard to talk about sometimes. But if we don’t speak up and speak out, we miss the chance to be a stronger and healthier community. Together, we can break the silence. We are all stronger when we support each other and respect that personal decisions are ours to make.

I pledge to start talking about:
Sexuality education
Birth control
Young parents”

The website will also provide resources such as conversation starters, social media graphics and content, and statistics to help drive visibility and discussion.

“We are thrilled to partner on Yo Soy to drive conversations that help ensure that Latinos have access to information and a continuum of quality health care, including sexuality education, birth control, abortion, and prenatal and maternal care,” said Jessica Reeves, VP of Partnerships, Voto Latino.

“We have the power to break through the silence and shame about our bodies, our sexuality, and our health. When we do, we help generations of Latinos—not only ourselves, but our hermanas, hijas, nieces; our fathers, tios and abuelos,” said Laura Jimenez, Executive Director, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice

“Our families need more access to health care and education, not less. Yo Soy encourages Latinos to speak out against attempts to restrict sexuality education or reproductive health options in our community,” said Cristina Aguilar, Executive Director, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights.

Sexual and reproductive health is a key component to the overall health and well- being of Latinos; yet this community faces persistent barriers to health, economic security, and obtaining education and health services that can keep them from or lift them out of poverty.

The name Yo Soy embodies a courageous statement of stepping up, taking your place in the world, and standing tall and proud.  It empowers Latinos to take ownership of their health and reproductive decision-making—to speak out and take action.

“Young people in our communities have the right to lead healthy lives. Our responsibility is to communicate openly and honestly with our young people to ensure they have the skills and information they need to make healthy decisions,” said Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Vice President for Strategic Partnerships, Advocates for Youth.

“A healthy community is a strong community, and we are all stronger when we break through shame and stigma. Let’s start talking,” said Jose Calderon, President of the Hispanic Federation.

Yo Soy believes that together we are all stronger when we support and respect that personal health decisions are ours to make—and our sexuality, health, and families are worth talking about.

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