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Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: Jessica González-Rojas

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“The fight for reproductive justice is inextricably linked to the fight for racial justice and black liberation, quality and affordable health care, equal access to education, LGBTQ liberation, and immigrant rights. Now more than ever before, we need a movement that recognizes and addresses all our lived experiences and intersecting identities, centers the voices of the most impacted, and works towards collective liberation. I truly believe that reproductive justice will move us toward justice and equality, and transform the political landscape in this country. I will continue to fight for reproductive justice until all of us are free to make the best decisions for ourselves, families and futures with dignity and self-determination.”​

The life work of Jessica González-Rojas is the embodiment of intersectionality. González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and has dedicated over 15 years to leadership within progressive movements. González-Rojas’ work is rooted in fostering grassroots movements within Latinx communities. Her activism centers on coalition building, which critically connects reproductive health to Latinx civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, immigration, education, and other social issues.

As an elected official to the New York State Democratic Committee, González-Rojas represented diverse communities and fought for their interests in the 39th Assembly District from 2002 to 2006. An accomplished writer, she contributed to the seminal publication, Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change. She served on the board for New Immigrant Community Empowerment, a nonprofit organization ensuring that immigrants can build social, political, and economic power. In 2011, González-Rojas worked with Lake Research Partners and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project to conduct innovative research that debunked stereotypes about Latino voters and dispelled assumptions made about Latino families’ views on sexual health issues. [1]

Jessica González-Rojas is a galvanizing force within the Reproductive Justice Movement. A prominent advocate on local and national media platforms, González-Rojas was named one of “13 Women of Color to Watch in 2013” by the Center for American Progress. Currently, Gonzalez-Rojas is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York’s City College.

Sexually active Latina adolescents are less likely to use birth control than their white or black peers. The low level of birth control use amongst sexually active Latina youth is largely due to social and economic inequalities not personal preference. [2] The majority of marginalized communities across the nation are served by primary care clinicians, not specialists. [3]  At the Reproductive Health Access Project, our focus on primary care clinicians is critical to ensuring that everyone will have access to comprehensive reproductive health care. We are continuously learning from reproductive justice activists like Jessica González-Rojas how RJ values can – and must be – incorporated into our work.

 

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