Washington, DC —Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America was proud to support the January 14th We Are Here to Stay, and We Shall Not Be Moved rallies in Washington, DC, as an act of solidarity with immigrant and civil rights partners, against issues of mass deportation, voter disenfranchisement, and hate crimes.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, spoke at the We Are Here To Stay rally. Her full remarks can be found below and on Medium: Planned Parenthood proudly stands with immigrants and refugees, and we always will.
Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
It means a lot to me to be here today. I was born and raised in Texas, where we learned from an early age the important role courageous immigrant leaders played in the fight for social justice.
Back in elementary school, my folks threw us in the back of the station wagon and drove all day to the Rio Grande Valley, to help rally the farmworkers marching to the state capitol for a minimum wage.
My first job was working with garment workers in Texas — immigrant women who were risking their jobs to fight for union contracts. Years later in Los Angeles, I met some of the most incredible leaders of my life as janitors from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras risked everything for better pay and working conditions. They believed in and fought for the right to build this country and fully participate in its progress.
The fight for immigrant rights, worker’s rights, and health care are bound together.
That’s why it was such a tremendous honor to join the Center for Community Change, the Fair Immigration Movement, United We Dream, CASA, Make the Road New York, the New York Immigration Coalition, SEIU, and leaders from across the the progressive movement at a #HereToStay rally in Washington—one of many events held across the country in support of immigrants and refugees.
I’m proud to work for Planned Parenthood, where we believe health care is a fundamental human right — in the U.S. and around the world.
Our motto is “care, no matter what.” No matter your income, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status, you deserve health care like everyone else in the world.
When politicians threaten to take away health care from millions of people and “defund” Planned Parenthood, we know the people who will suffer most are those who already face barriers to health care. We saw that in Texas, where politicians closed women’s health centers and tried to shut down Planned Parenthood. Maternal mortality rate doubled — especially for black women. And many immigrants and undocumented women were cut off from access to lifesaving preventive care and left with nowhere else to turn.
An attack on immigrants, people of color, working families, or any community is an attack on all of us.
At Planned Parenthood, immigrants and refugees are our family: our patients, activists, supporters, educators, clinicians, and leaders. They make our country better, stronger, and more vibrant. And they make Planned Parenthood better, too.
One of those leaders is a woman named Blasa from Nevada. Years ago, she met a Planned Parenthood educator who connected her to the resources she needed to get herself and her family out of a dangerous situation. Today, Blasa is safe and healthy. She’s an entrepreneur. And she helps other survivors of domestic violence get the support they need.
Not only that — she works with Planned Parenthood as part of the promotores de salud program, built on community health education programs from Mexico and Central America. As a promotora, Blasa opens her home to her friends and neighbors for conversations about sexual and reproductive health –everything is welcome and nothing is off-limits.
And as for her two daughters, they’re proudly following in her footsteps as teen sex educators. Blasa and her family are making their community a better, healthier place for generations to come. We are proud to stand with them — and with immigrant and refugee families in every corner of our country. They are #HereToStay — and so is Planned Parenthood.
Now is the time to link arms and fight together. We won’t give up. We won’t back down. Instead, we’re going to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
January 14, 2017