- Release of the Latina Portrait
Release of the Latina Portrait
As part of the Maria Mangual Leadership Conference, Mujeres Latinas en Acción together with Casa de Esperanza, unveiled the comprehensive research study Latina Portrait: The Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act – A Focus on Latina at a press conference. The Latina Portrait provides an overview of the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) legislation and its previous reauthorizations, with a particular emphasis on how it relates to domestic violence and sexual assault experienced by Latina and immigrant women. The report offers recommendations for service providers, law enforcement, state administrators, communities, and members of Congress on how to support the continuation of the immigration provisions of VAWA.
The press conference included speeches by Illinois politicians, authors of the report, Dolores Huerta, and clients who have benefitted from VAWA. U.S. Representative Judy Biggert (R-13th District), U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D- 5th District), and U.S. Senator Durbin’s Chicago Chief of Staff Clarisol Duque emphasized the importance of bipartisan cooperation to reauthorize VAWA. Rosie Hidalgo, Director of Public Policy for Casa de Esperanza and one of the authors of the report, discussed the importance of VAWA for immigrants: "We call on Congress to demonstrate our nation’s commitment to ending domestic violence and sexual assault by passing a final, bipartisan VAWA bill this year that ensures protections for all victims, and that does not erode the critical protections for immigrant victims that Congress has always supported in the past."
One of the more poignant moments occurred when Irma Duran, a client from Mujeres, spoke about her experience as the survivor of psychological abuse, her empowering experience at Mujeres, and the process of applying for citizenship through a VAWA self-petition. She was followed by another survivor of violence, who told the audience about her experience receiving a U visa through VAWA and how it allowed her to attend college and eventually law school. These stories of empowerment gave a face to the immigrant domestic violence survivors who have had their lives changed for the better because of VAWA.
Mujeres Latinas en Acción would like to thank the Chicago Foundation for Women for sponsoring the Latina Portrait.