A Day in the Life of a Raíz Organizer
By Miriam Berg | Jan. 14, 2015, 9:44 p.m.
Category: Health Care Equity
Planned Parenthood health centers see over 575,000 members of the [email protected] community every year. And thanks to Obamacare, 4.9 million Latinas nationwide are benefiting from access to preventive care with no out-of-pocket costs. That includes birth control, Pap tests, cancer screenings, and well-woman exams covered — without a copay. But in order to take advantage of these benefits, Latinas need to sign up for the health care marketplace. That’s where the Raíz program comes in.
Under the Raíz (Spanish for “root”) program, local organizers work with Planned Parenthood health centers and community partners to advocate for improved access to health care for women, men, and families in the [email protected] community. Many Raíz organizers grew up and live in the same communities they work in, bringing a unique and authentic lens to their outreach efforts.
Raíz & Planned Parenthood
The services provided in Planned Parenthood health centers are particularly vital to the [email protected] community, as [email protected] face greater obstacles to obtaining sexual and reproductive health services than their non-Latino peers. A variety of factors cause this lack of access, including language barriers, restrictive legislative policies, or lack of health insurance coverage (See Planned Parenthood Health Insurance Facts in English, and Planned Parenthood Asegurate en Español). The causes of inaccessibility to care often lead to later-stage diagnoses of preventable disease.
Active in five states — Arizona, Colorado, Florida, New Mexico, and Texas — organizers in the Raíz program talk with people in their communities about Planned Parenthood‘s services, speak out about issues affecting the [email protected] community, and develop volunteer leaders. Raíz organizers also listen to the people they speak with to learn how Planned Parenthood can help strengthen community access to high-quality health care.
A Day in the Life of a Raíz Organizer
Every day, Raíz organizers work to build a sustainable infrastructure for Planned Parenthood’s work with the [email protected] community. But what does their day look like? We’ll tell you!
My Life: A Typical Day for a Raíz Organizer
Down a big cup of coffee and head to my local Planned Parenthood advocacy office to start my busy day
Check e-mails and start filling out my calendar — it’s chock-full of outreach events, community meetings, and collaborative projects
Meet with my city health care roundtable to talk about how Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment is going for different organizations and how Planned Parenthood can help
Work with volunteers to staff a huge, bilingual ACA enrollment event that brings in 500 people to enroll in the health care marketplace — get hugs from two people I helped enroll (that keeps me going!)
Finalize the placement of a brand new Planned Parenthood health center to be built in my community
Have a working lunch with a prospective volunteer for our Health Care Advocacy Program
Represent Planned Parenthood at the local school district’s health and wellness fair
Meet with NARAL Pro-Choice and our student, Latina, and reproductive rights partners to plan for our Roe v. Wade Anniversary event later this month
Help my local Planned Parenthood advocacy organization plan a retreat to align our public affairs work with our 2015 strategic goals
Post flyers and drop off literature at a college campus, and join volunteers to canvass door-to-door to spread the word about ACA enrollment
Phone banking party! Volunteers and I invite people to enrollment events and have one-on-one conversations to help people begin the ACA application process.
Attend a reception at the state capitol to welcome the new members of the legislature and build relationships
Give a presentation about the ACA at a Parents Association
Make a cameo at a “Sex, Politics and Cocktails” meeting (i.e., happy hour) with a young professionals group
Head home, eat dinner, watch an episode (or two) of the Mindy Project, and cuddle with my new puppies!
Go to bed, feeling like I had a rewarding day that helped my community
Why Become a Raíz Organizer
With such busy days, it’s no wonder that Raíz organizers are motivated by great passion for women’s health and rights. “Planned Parenthood not only makes reproductive health services affordable and accessible, but also works to destigmatize women's bodies and reproductive health care,” says Raíz Organizer Hattie Landry, who works in Denver for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. “Being a Raíz organizer, I'm able to talk with community members about our advocacy and clinical work, as well as empower them to create positive social change,” she adds.
Many Raíz organizers are also first-generation Americans and the firsts in their family for many experiences. For example, Mabel Diaz is a first-generation queer Latina who grew up in San Antonio, Texas. She became active in social justice in college, “and it was there were I decided I wanted to dedicate my life to empowering women," she said.
For all these reasons, activists are motivated to become Raíz organizers. And we’re thankful that they do! If you are interested in joining the Planned Parenthood team, check our job openings.