Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Las Mujeres de Oaxaca

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April 1, 2014


Hospitals in Oaxaca, Mexico have received a lot of attention recently, and for all the wrong reasons. When local stations and photographers captured an image of an indigenous woman giving birth on the front lawn of a hospital that had turned her away they revealed what seems to be a persisting issue for the indigenous population of Mexico. According to activists in southern, rural Mexico this was not an isolated incident, with twenty reported cases, most occurring in Oaxaca.

The most underprivileged are being forced to risk their lives and the lives of their children due to anti-indigenous sentiments and it’s sickening. In a country where the maternal death rate is three times higher than the United States, it is not anywhere in the vicinity of good enough to have young indigenous women giving birth in bathrooms and front lawns.

In the Latino community, where racism, prejudice, and misogyny runs deep we have to find room to welcome these women. The tacit of prejudice that exists in our communities and nations are costing women their health and safety and this is simply not good enough. Latina voices have been silenced throughout our histories, especially the voices of our indigenous sisters, and now I say enough is enough. We have to mobilize and we have to help support these women.

This is violence, bare and shameless against the first women of Mexico. These women are targeted because they have been subjugated for hundreds of years, held down under the boot heel of antiquated colonialism and dehumanizing stereotypes that served to justify the terrible treatment of these peoples. These women, and women from many other indigenous cultures around the world, have endured genocide, assimilation, and cultural dysphoria for the so-called rewards of progress.

Around the world, remnants of colonialism and imperialism exist in the form of economic disparities between the “conquerors” and the “conquered”, rates of violence, education gaps, and lack of housing. In the United States this is certainly a major issue, where 1 in 3 Native American women will be victimized by sexual assault in her lifetime.

The view of these women needs to change. And it needs to change in the right way. Latinas around the world need to stand in solidarity with our sisters in Mexico. In an ethnic community where bonds are struck based on nationalities and countries of origin, we have to see that the tragedy in Oaxaca crosses the boarders of our heritages and affects each of us.

Soy Nicaraguensa y apoyo a los mujeres de Oaxaca.

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