By Cristina Aguilar, Executive Director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), on the kickoff of the 2016 state legislative session:
“As a new legislative session begins, we look forward to the opportunity to work with our state’s leaders to address the complex issues facing Colorado. We are committed to ensuring that lawmakers stand with women and families by advancing policies to achieve reproductive and economic justice.
Latinas and our families should be able to make personal decisions, have access to affordable health services and maintain our bodily autonomy.
Reject attempts to create barriers to abortion or interfere with the provision of care. We will stand strong against the myriad of insidious attempts to make abortion care harder to get. It is not our place to impose our personal beliefs on someone else or to meddle with decisions about pregnancy, parenting and abortion.
Ensure long-term, sustainable funding for the Colorado Family Planning Initiative. Self-determination and the ability to be a parent when we are ready should not be a privilege. This program helps low-income Coloradans to access the best method of contraception to meet their needs and plan their families and futures.
Too many Latinas are living in poverty due to wage disparities, a lack of paid leave or living wages, as well as inadequate access to education and employment opportunity. We urge our leaders to work on policies that ensure the financial stability of people in our state.
Support pregnant workers. The Pregnant Worker’s Fairness Act provides reasonable accommodations. We can do more to support women as they build their families by putting common sense legislation into place to ensure that people are provided with basic support in the workplace.
Ensure access to affordable childcare. Expanding eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) will help to assist families while they are in school or working. Current eligibility criteria leaves many people who are struggling to get by without access to critical support to ensure educational and employment opportunities for low-income Coloradans.
These policies help to push back on economic injustice and to begin to address the systemic barriers that deny many Latinas the ability to be safe and thrive. It is also important that we leverage opportunities to work towards culture change and cultivate mutual understanding.
Support the development of inclusive curricula in Colorado schools to raise awareness and build unity. The Multicultural Education in History and Civil Government will ensure that that history and civil government classes include the history, culture, and contributions of the American Indians, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans.
We are committed to protecting the ability of each Coloradan to access the health care they need. Latinas have been fighting for a long time for our right to healthcare, bodily autonomy and to create and build the futures we dream of and we’re going to keep fighting until that right is a reality for every woman, regardless of where she lives or works, her income, or her immigration status.
COLOR was founded to empower Latinas to shape and influence the policies that impact our community. For us that means looking at what women and families in our state need to lead healthy, empowered lives. We are certain that our voice, our vision and our leadership will continue to be critical in the 2016 legislative session and beyond.”