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Jessica González-Rojas
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Jessica González-Rojas is the Executive Director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the only national reproductive justice organization that specifically works to advance reproductive health and rights for Latinas. Jessica spearheads the research, field organizing, and advocacy operations in the New York headquarters as well as the Washington DC policy office, and is a national spokesperson and leading national advocate for Latinas. She has been a member of the strategic management team at NLIRH for five years, where she played a pivotal role in establishing the organization as a leading voice for Latinas in national policy discussions in Washington DC and in targeted states, and where she forged new partnerships with allied movements such as immigration, sexual health and rights, and anti-violence.

Jessica is a regular presence in national and local media outlets. She was honored by El Diario/La Prensa, the nation’s oldest and largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States, as one of 2009’s “Mujeres Destacadas” (Women of Honor). She is a regular contributor to El Diario/La Prensa on pressing reproductive health issues in the Latina community, as well as a regular media voice in local and national outlets such as National Public Radio, the Brian Lehrer Show (WNYC-FM), the Boston Globe and the New York Times.
Jessica frequently speaks about the National Latina Institute’s work at national conferences, and provides policy expertise including testimony at congressional briefings. Jessica provided content for the groundbreaking publication, “Reproductive Justice Briefing Book: A Primer on Reproductive Justice and Social Change”, contributed an NLIRH publication in the anthology, Readings for Diversity and Social Justice, 2nd Edition (Routledge Press, 2010) and served as an Advisory Member for the publication of Latina/o Sexualities: Probing Powers, Passions, Practices, and Policies (Rutgers University Press, 2010).

Jessica is a long-time leader in community and electoral politics. She was elected to the New York State Democratic Committee for the 39th Assembly District from 2002-2006, representing the diverse communities of Jackson Heights, Corona, Elmhurst and Woodside. The New York State Senate and Assembly awarded her a Proclamation for Community Leadership in 2003. She also served as a community liaison in two district offices of Congresswoman Nydia M. Velasquez through a leadership program sponsored by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO).

Jessica has held leadership roles in numerous local and national organizations that promotes social justice advocacy. She serves on the Board of Directors of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), a New York City-based non-profit whose mission is to ensure that immigrants can build social, political and economic power. She is a featured expert for the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), and an Advisory Member of the Women of Color Policy Network (WOCPN). She has also served as a board member for Medical Students for Choice.

Jessica is an Adjunct Professor of Latino and Latin American Studies at the City University of New York’s City College and has taught courses on reproductive rights, gender and sexuality. Jessica holds a Masters degree in Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, with a concentration in Public and Nonprofit Management and Public Policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston University, where she graduated cum laude. She recently completed the Columbia University Business School Institute for Not-for-Profit Management.

Entries by Jessica González-Rojas

Latina Voices Urge Policymakers: 15 Years Is Too Long to Wait for Health Care

(10) Comments | Posted September 16, 2013 | 8:25 PM

Imagine that you have found a large lump in your breast or are experiencing pain in your ovaries. Or imagine your daughter, mother, or sister is having these experiences. Then imagine that you -- or she -- will be forced to wait 15 years for health care. For most people,...

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Fenced In and Locked Out: Border Deal Will Endanger Women's Lives

(7) Comments | Posted June 26, 2013 | 5:25 PM

This week, by a vote of 67-27, the U.S. Senate passed a controversial deal that is expected to propel immigration reform through the chamber with strong bipartisan support. A vote on final passage in the Senate is expected any day, and then all eyes will turn to the House of...

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Let's Empower Young Dads, Not Stigmatize Them

(5) Comments | Posted June 12, 2013 | 12:02 PM

A number of recent campaigns have taken an unfortunate approach to trying to tackle the issue of teen pregnancy. Rather than supplying youth with the tools and information they desperately need, they've chosen to simply try to shame young people out of parenthood, a tactic that's not only ineffective but...

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1 in 3: Beatriz, Mounting Barriers to Abortion and the American Experience

(1) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 1:42 PM

Over the last few weeks many of us have read, written and emailed about a young mother in El Salvador named Beatriz. We have shaken our heads, cried to our partners, and shouted out in anger that yet another woman might lose her life, denied the basic medical...

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A Valentine's Day Plea: Love Doesn't Stop at Borders

(8) Comments | Posted February 14, 2013 | 9:53 AM

Valentine's Day is a time when most of us can take a moment from our busy lives and celebrate those we love. But for many women immigrants and same-sex couples, Valentine's Day is a time they remember their separation from those they love and continue to face the fear that...

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We Need An Attitude Change: Policies Must Support, Not Stigmatize Young Mothers

(9) Comments | Posted August 23, 2012 | 5:03 PM

As we soon welcome Women's Equality Day we can celebrate some real progress for young women's health, like recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that shows teen birth rates are at historic lows. For Latinas, the teen birth rate declined by 9 percent from...

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Full Adoption of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion a Must for Latina Health

(4) Comments | Posted August 5, 2012 | 11:03 PM

Last week, as Latinas around the country celebrated the start of access to contraception without co-pays, I thought back to three years ago when my staff and I organized and rallied for affordable birth control as part of our first national Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice. To many...

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Dignity, Justice, Equality: LGBTQ Latinos and Allies Building a Movement for Change

(5) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 9:46 AM

How's this for shattering stereotypes during National LGBT Pride Month: Latinos are among the leading advocates for LGBTQ equality and justice.

A recent report by the Pew Research Center revealed that a full 59% of Latinos believe homosexuality should be accepted by society, and another...

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Is Arizona the Worst Place in the Country to Be a Latina?

(121) Comments | Posted June 20, 2012 | 1:15 PM

Any day now, the United States Supreme Court is expected to issue two landmark decisions -- concerning the Affordable Care Act health reform law and the harsh Arizona anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Collectively, these decisions will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of Latinas. Both cases point...

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What PRENDA Would Mean to Women

(47) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 11:58 AM

On Wednesday, May 30, the United States House of Representatives will consider the "Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act." Known as "PRENDA," the latest version of the bill (there have been at least three) would ban abortions performed on the basis of sex. If this bill becomes law, a doctor or...

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Latinas At The Intersections: Immigration, Health Care, And The Supreme Court

(45) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 7:12 AM

The Supreme Court will soon issue decisions on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act health care reform law and the harsh Arizona anti-immigration law SB 1070--two laws that have already had far-reaching consequences for Latinas and could continue to shape our lives for years to come. Each case is...

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Nursing Sagas of a Working Mama

(2) Comments | Posted May 13, 2012 | 1:23 PM

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the back of a rental car on the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, heading towards a gap in the border fence near a sanctuary that a local organizer insisted we MUST see. My colleagues and I were on a field visit to...

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The Threat of the Latino Fertilized Egg

(13) Comments | Posted November 17, 2011 | 6:54 AM

Last week Mississippi voters rejected the "personhood" initiative, which would have given law enforcement the power to intervene in a woman's decision-making about how to manage her fertility and her pregnancy. On the same day, Arizona voters recalled state Senator Russell Pearce in response to his anti-immigrant crusade where he...

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