Sunday, April 11, 2010

Semana Chicana 2010: Latinos in Health

While I was unable to attend all of the events for this year's Semana Chicana: Latinos in Health (my first SC!), I can honestly tell you that I really enjoyed all of the events that I did manage to attend.

I think my excitement began when I saw the printed posters designed by our very own Francisco Tamayo. Truly excellent works. I stole some from the poster walls after the events ended for my own collection :) We are really lucky to have him as our resident artist/advertiser.

My first event was the Reproductive Health Workshop. It was really interesting for me as a Latina because I have never been to the women's center here at Yale, and also because I have never really considered reproductive rights and what the means for immigrants in the New Haven area. The speaker was a field organizer from New York, who explained how the organization had been able to improve healthcare access for Latinos living in a more isolated part of Texas by convincing the busing companies to bring regularly running bus routes into the area. This was among many of their other projects to improve access and education for immigrant families, but I found that this particular example led me to think about how basic things like transportation can really inhibit people's abilities to take advantage of public programs... just something to consider.

We were also presented with very chilling facts about the history of reproductive health and experimentation with sterilization in the US. I did not know about the sterilization programs that happened in Puerto Rico beginning in the 1930s, or the options offered to prisoners for temporary sterilization. Interesting that history books, even the ones who do mention sexuality and reproductive rights, decide not to talk about these episodes.

My second event was the Mental Health study break, and I know for a fact that everyone who learned how to dance left the event with much higher levels of endorphins. So clearly that was a successful study break! Alex Gutierrez and I left, completely prepared to appear on Dancing with the Stars... so look for us! (hahahaha)

And the final event that I was able to attend was the Nutrition Day dinner at la Casa on Saturday evening. This brought out a really diverse group of people, which was great to see, including some very nutrition and food/agribusiness oriented alumni. I was pleased to see new faces in the crowd! And besides Jazzmin, I really wanted to thank Francisco (again), Anna and Sandy for helping us make it as much fun as it was! I think that the combination of vegetarian caribbean food and the documentary about eating raw foods as a healthy lifestyle choice has opened up some horizons -- I know a friend of mine left the documentary saying that he was interesting in bringing more raw foods into his diet!

And so we'll see what next year has in store for Semana Chicana, but for now I think MEChA de Yale can rest assured that it was fun and informative on many levels.

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