I moved to Rhode Island about five years ago. I have two daughters, one who is 9 years old and my youngest is 3. When I moved to Rhode Island, I immediately started researching local schools. Education has always been very important to me, and like any parent, I want my children to receive an education that will prepare them for college and beyond, without compromising diversity. As I continued to do research and compare neighboring cities and towns, I picked up on an obvious trend, our lowest performing districts in the state, were those districts that were mostly made up of students of color and entrenched in poverty.
Our education system, as it stands today, is not preparing black and brown students to be the future leaders of our state. I am extremely concerned about the Latino student population, who make up 31% of all students in the state of Rhode Island. In October of 2017, Annie E. Casey Foundation ranked students across the nation. According to the report, “The index is based on 12 key indicators that measure a child’s success for each stage of life, grouped into four areas: early childhood, education and early work, family supports, and neighborhood context.” Latino students in Rhode Island rank last in the nation. African American children are not too far behind. We can and we MUST do better in the state of Rhode Island. I am a mother, a community organizer, lifelong learner, a graduate student at Roger Williams University Community Development Program, and in January I recently started a new job as the Student Services Manager, at Achievement First Iluminar Mayoral Academy.
- TWP has been working to pass a bill that codifies Roe V Wade into RI state law. We are interested in the ways that Reproductive Freedom impacts your life and the work that you do? What about the lives of the people who you affect with your work?
I’ve always been baffled by how much interest the government has in regulating women’s bodies and their personal choice. Reproductive Freedom is a human right, and it should be protected under our “democracy,” not infringed upon. Reproductive rights should be taught in all public schools to ensure that all of our teenagers have access to a comprehensive curriculum that will inform them of how best to protect themselves and what resources are available to aid them in making informed decisions. As someone who has worked with teenagers, there is nothing more scary to me, than one of our impressionable young adults making uninformed decisions because they are scared and they fear a parent or caretaker will find out. Our society has made these topics shameful for women. We need to actively break down these misconceptions and empower our most marginalized populations which include our women of color and trans population.
- When you think about your community (or communities) what is something you would like them to know about Reproductive Freedom in RI? Why?
Reproductive Freedom on the federal level is under attack and it is our duty to ensure that we preserve our rights in the state of Rhode Island. The time is now to ensure that every women is protected under Rhode Island law. Women should have access to contraception, safe abortions, and so much more! Women matter.
- What are the best ways in your opinion to educate people about this issue?
As I discussed above, a comprehensive curriculum in schools should be our priority. In addition, social media campaigns can be extremely successful in reaching and informing people of all ages. These campaigns should be in English, Spanish and Creole.