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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273
    jteixeira@nclr.org
      

    National voter campaign to mobilize Latinos to the polls

    Washington—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will announce the launch of its national Mobilize to Vote (M2V) campaign, one of the largest Hispanic-focused civic engagement efforts in the country. The campaign will focus on registering and mobilizing thousands of eligible Latinos to vote on Election Day this year.

    As the largest minority group as well as the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, the Latino electorate is poised to play a significant role in determining outcomes of electoral races across the nation, not only helping to decide the presidency, but also the makeup of the next Congress, state gubernatorial races, and local mayoral elections.

    Mobilize to Vote will focus its efforts on registering Latinos in critical swing states including Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, as well as several other states with key Latino populations such as California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: Launch of NCLR’s Mobilize to Vote Campaign

    WHO: Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
    Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Director, Civic Engagement and
    Immigration, NCLR
    Fernando Romero, Regional Field Coordinator, Nevada, NCLR
    Yanidsi Velez, Regional Field Coordinator, Central Florida, NCLR

    WHEN: 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EDT)
    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    WHERE: Telephonic press conference
    Participant Dial-In Number: (800) 895-1715
    Conference Code: Mobilize to Vote (M2V)

    FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Julian Teixeira at jteixeira@nclr.org or (202) 365-2273.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

    ###


    0 0

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273
    jteixeira@nclr.org
      

    National voter campaign to mobilize Latinos to the polls

    Washington—NCLR (National Council of La Raza) will announce the launch of its national Mobilize to Vote (M2V) campaign, one of the largest Hispanic-focused civic engagement efforts in the country. The campaign will focus on registering and mobilizing thousands of eligible Latinos to vote on Election Day this year.

    As the largest minority group as well as the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, the Latino electorate is poised to play a significant role in determining outcomes of electoral races across the nation, not only helping to decide the presidency, but also the makeup of the next Congress, state gubernatorial races, and local mayoral elections.

    Mobilize to Vote will focus its efforts on registering Latinos in critical swing states including Florida, Nevada, and Colorado, as well as several other states with key Latino populations such as California, Texas, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

    MEDIA ADVISORY

    WHAT: Launch of NCLR’s Mobilize to Vote Campaign

    WHO: Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR
    Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Director, Civic Engagement and
    Immigration, NCLR
    Fernando Romero, Regional Field Coordinator, Nevada, NCLR
    Yanidsi Velez, Regional Field Coordinator, Central Florida, NCLR

    WHEN: 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EDT)
    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    WHERE: Telephonic press conference
    Participant Dial-In Number: (800) 895-1715
    Conference Code: Mobilize to Vote (M2V)

    FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please contact Julian Teixeira at jteixeira@nclr.org or (202) 365-2273.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • 03/14/12--09:33: Reflections of a March
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    By Jessica Mayorga, Director of Marketing, NCLR

    Last Tuesday night, a clock started ticking on the ALMA Awards website counting down the days, hours, and minutes leading up to the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards on NBC. The show is back, and on Friday, September 21, it will deliver another star-studded lineup of your favorite Latino entertainers. It’s never too early to start planning for the event of the year. There’s no better way to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month than through this exciting celebration of Latino contributions to American media arts. It’s the only time on English-language, prime time, network television when we can all tune in to celebrate our Latino film, TV, and music trailblazers.

    Did you know that groups throughout the country gather for creative and fun-filled ALMA watch parties? Keep an eye on the ALMA website this summer when the official watch party kit becomes available. This free and thorough kit contains everything from invitations you can print out to recipes for ALMAritas and ALMAtinis, not to mention great show-inspired food courtesy of our friends at PepsiCo.

    While watch parties are legendary, we are proud of the great discussions that spring from the ALMA Awards broadcast. On college campuses throughout the country, students gather to watch the broadcast and use the free conversation guide on the ALMA website. While ALMA is a blast to watch, it also promotes a message that we need to share with others—whether they are Latino or not. The discussions we hope to spark serve to educate our peers about what our gente contribute in every aspect of entertainment.

    How will you celebrate the 2012 NCLR ALMA Awards? Let us know here. If you’re one of the first to share your plans with us, there’s a prize in it for you! Tune in on September 21 and every day on the ALMA website, Facebook, and Twitter pages. And start thinking about your ALMA gathering. We look forward to hearing from you soon!


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    PARA DIVULGACIÓN INMEDIATA:

    Para más información:
    Julian Teixeira
    (202) 365-2273
    jteixeira@nclr.org

    Campaña nacional para movilizar a los latinos a las urnas

    Washington—El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) anunciará el lanzamiento de su campaña nacional: Movilizados al Voto (M2V), uno de los esfuerzos más grandes de participación cívica latina en los Estados Unidos. La campaña se enfocará en registrar y movilizar a miles de votantes Hispanos en todo el país para estas próximas elecciones.

    Al ser la minoría más grande y creciente del país, el electorado latino jugará un papel importante en la determinación de los resultados electorales a lo largo de la nación, ya que no solamente ayudará a decidir quién llegará a la presidencia, sino que también definirá la composición del próximo Congreso, algunas gubernaturas estatales y a los alcaldes de diversos municipios.

    Movilizados al Voto concentrará sus esfuerzos en registrar latinos en estados electorales clave incluyendo Florida, Nevada, y Colorado, además de otros estados con una población latina significativa como California, Texas, Pennsylvania, y Carolina del Norte.

    AVISO A LA PRENSA

    QUÉ: Lanzamiento de la campaña Movilizados al Voto de NCLR

    QUIÉN: Janet Murguía, Presidenta, NCLR
    Clarissa Martinez De Castro, Directora, Participación Cívica e Inmigración Fernando Romero, Coordinador Regional, Nevada, NCLR
    Yanidsi Velez, Coordinadora Regional, Florida central, NCLR

    CUÁNDO: 1:00 p.m. to 2 p.m. (EDT)
    Jueves, 22 de marzo, 2012

    DÓNDE: Conferencia de prensa telefónica:
    Número al llamar para participantes: (800) 895-1715
    Código de Conferencia: Mobilize to Vote (M2V)

    PARA MÁS INFORMACIÓN: Por favor llame a: Julian Teixeira at jteixeira@nclr.org o (202) 365-2273.

    El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) es la organización nacional más grande de apoyo y defensa de los derechos civiles de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos y trabaja para mejorar sus oportunidades. Para mayor información sobre el NCLR, por favor visite www.nclr.org o síganos en Facebook y Twitter.

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    By Kara D. Ryan, Senior Research Analyst, Health Policy Project, NCLR

    When we talk about healthy eating in this country, particularly in light of a child obesity rate that has tripled over my own lifetime, many times we focus solely on the behaviors of individuals. Sometimes when we see an overweight child, we make assumptions about the eating habits of the family, without thinking about circumstances that shape food choices. The common exception, in my experience, seems to be the impact of cultural beliefs and behaviors.

    When I talk with people about children’s nutrition, they often bring up culture as important influencer. More often than not, however, I’ve heard culture—especially Latino culture—framed as a negative factor. The reality is that culture is part of a larger framework that shapes our choices. Social, economic, and environmental factors (also known as social determinants of health) shape our opportunities to be healthy. When it comes to nutritious eating, our cultural beliefs matter, along with where we live and whether we make a living wage, have access to health care, and are able to access programs and resources that are available to help. For low-income Latinos, nutrition education and behavior counseling that take all of these factors into account—such as budget-savvy strategies that are also culturally and linguistically competent—is more likely to be information that families can apply to their lives.

    Take the Latino families featured in our Comer Bien series (also featured after the jump). Time and time again, we heard from parents and grandparents who understood the important role that good nutrition has in their children’s health, but struggled with the logistics of putting healthy food on the table every day. And families were rarely struggling with just one issue; rather, many constraints at once—low-wage or cyclical employment, poor transportation, unsafe neighborhoods, food environments without full-service grocery stores but plenty of fast food chains and gas stations with cheap, calorie-dense food options—often made buying and preparing healthy meals a herculean task. Increasingly, researchers are linking poor food access with increased consumption of added sugars and fats—which can contribute to Hispanic children’s troubling rates of overweight and obesity.

    Yet we also found that Latinos’ cultural beliefs and practices were not the stumbling block that many people portray them to be. Dig deeper and you’ll find that deeply held values for community, family, and nourishment are powerful assets in the fight against child obesity. The concept of comer bien (eating well) means that for many Latino families, sharing a meal together around a table with their children is as central to wellness as is the nutritional content. Shifting approaches to work with, rather than against, these beliefs is a successful strategy.

    First, while much is made of a Latino association of chubbiness with healthy children, we should not assume that Hispanic parents are the only ones who have trouble accurately assessing their children’s body size. A study of White, Black, and Mexican American mothers found that one-third misclassified their child’s weight status, regardless of race/ethnicity. Perhaps, then, a focus on clinical markers such as body mass index is not the most effective way to reach parents. Qualitative studies show that Latinas focus on their children’s ability to play and be active, rather than a number on a scale; researchers suggest that reframing the conversation to focus on healthy eating and physical activity resonates more with Latinas than centering the discussion on children’s weight.

    Similarly, it is not helpful to generalize about Hispanics’ feeding practices. While Latino parents—like most American families—have to negotiate children’s food intake with both their kids and other family members, restricting children’s intake of fatty or junk foods is a common strategy for many Latina moms. One finding in a study of New York WIC participants found that Latino and Black parents were more likely than White parents to report restricting children’s diets and that their kids should finish dinner before having desserts—a statistically significant difference.

    Finally, traditional menus and ingredients is perhaps the most concrete way that nutrition advocates can capitalize on Hispanic culture as a force for good. Latino immigrants traditionally have diets filled with nutritious staples like fresh vegetables; in fact, it is acculturation to the U.S. that leads to rising obesity rates among children. Moreover, many traditional recipes can be made over without asking families to give up their favorites. In our Comer Bien series, we saw this in action. Motivated to give their children healthy foods while still passing on family traditions, Guadalupe and Humberto from El Paso, Texas learned to prepare foods like homemade tortillas using whole grain flour and mashed apples. And 21-year-old José from Washington, DC recalled being surprised to learn that his mother was filling his favorite pupusas with vegetables.

    We must employ a comprehensive approach to the child obesity crisis, integrating policies and practices that influence all of the factors that leave Latino children more vulnerable. With nearly 40% of Hispanic kids either overweight or obese, it is imperative that those strategies take into account the needs of the community. The good news is that we can see culture as a strength to be harnessed, rather than a barrier to be overcome, in the fight to reverse Latino child obesity.

    For more information, please visit www.nclr.org/nutrition


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    The Affordable Care Act turns two this Friday. The law is still fairly new, but some of the most significant progress during its infancy was made on behalf of America’s elders.

    The Medicare program’s latest additions—a direct result of the Affordable Care Act—are designed to bolster access to high-quality health care, create efficiency in how the program serves seniors, and reduce health care costs. Now, Medicare’s seniors can access dozens of free preventive care services and obtain a free annual wellness exam.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has chosen to profile the senior community today. Throughout the law’s anniversary week, HHS will continue to highlight the rules and benefits that have already been put into place for many different communities that stand to gain from health care. You can access those resources here. Check out the first profile below.

    These critical prevention benefits were among a set of program changes that, for the first time in history, give seniors the ability to establish a health care plan that meets their needs, instead of just using Medicare for the treatment of an illness or health condition. The services may be especially meaningful for many in the Latino senior community who often join the program after a lifetime without health insurance, and who are more likely to rely on Social Security benefits as their sole source of income in retirement. 

    Want more information on Hispanic seniors and the Medicare program? Check out NCLR’s most recent statistical brief on Medicare, which offers state-by-state details on Latino enrollment in the program.

    • Did you know that about 3.5 million Latinos access the Medicare program?
    • Did you know that about one in four Hispanics on Medicare is also enrolled in the Medicaid program?
    • Did you know that nearly half of disabled Hispanics use Medicare?  

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    By Karen Hopper, Policy Fellow, NCLR

    Since Latinos in America represent both the fastest-growing segment of the labor force and those most dependent upon public transit and safe pedestrian options, it is essential that Congress send a comprehensive transportation reauthorization to President Obama before time runs out. Current transportation funding is set to expire March 31, and while the Senate has acted to reauthorize funding, representatives continue to drag their feet.

    The federal government finances half or more of the capital investments to build, maintain, and improve roads, bridges, railways, and other transportation systems, with a match from state and local governments, making transportation authorization an essential component in our economic recovery by creating jobs and keeping commuters safe on their way to work and school.

    Last week, the Senate passed a two-year, $109 billion surface transportation bill with a bipartisan vote of 74–22. While it is likely that House leadership will make way for a short-term extension of current law, the long-term fate is uncertain. Further stalling is detrimental to businesses and local government and threatens millions of jobs. While the House is likely to consider stopgap measures to temporarily extend funding beyond the March 31 deadline, there is no path forward with HR 7, the destructive House version of surface transportation authorization. NCLR calls upon Speaker John Boehner and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John Mica to take up and pass the bipartisan Senate bill to keep Americans at work and our commuters safe.

    The Senate bill, titled “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,” or MAP-21, includes provisions that will expand research opportunities that focus on the needs of communities that are most dependent on reliable and affordable public transportation. Since people of color, low-income people, and people with disabilities are disproportionally affected by the decisions of transit agencies, these research opportunities go a long way toward understanding how to make systems more efficient for all. The Senate also voted to hold states accountable for safe upkeep of roads and bridges, extend the commuter benefit for transit users, and preserve funding to make our streets safer for bikers and walkers.

    The MAP-21 also creates or saves nearly 3 million jobs. Overall, the transportation and utilities industry employs a staggering 7.1 million workers per year. Since the transportation sector is responsible for adding a significant share of new jobs that are helping the economy recover, especially within Latino communities, it is essential that the House of Representatives act quickly by considering MAP-21 in its own chamber.

    While there are still improvements that could be made to the overall bill, NCLR is pleased that the Senate overcame partisan gridlock in order to prevent actual gridlock for millions of Americans. Now it is time for the House of Representatives to do the same—or we could face another obstacle in the road to economic recovery. 


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    By Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project, NCLR

    It’s probably the hottest seat in Washington, DC—and you can’t buy tickets to it. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the almost two-year-old health care reform law. For or against it, hundreds of people will line up on the steps to try and secure one of the limited seats in the Court reserved for the public. And for good reason: the Supreme Court’s decision will have major bearing on the health care experiences of Americans for generations to come.

    The outcome of this case is especially important for Latinos because it will dictate future health care access for a population that is increasingly a driving force in the country, but whose health has been put at risk because they are pitifully underserved in our current system. As the data from the 2010 Census revealed, Latinos, often perceived as an emerging population, have unquestionably come of age. Already one in four children in the United States is Latino—and that number is expected to increase to one in three by 2030. Yet Latinos have long been disconnected from the health care system, carrying many unnecessary medical burdens and ills throughout life.

    Even from birth, Latinos have less equitable access to health care in almost every part of the system. Latino children have uninsurance rates double that of the general population. Furthermore, experts from the National Center for Disease Control and Prevention note that one in two Latino children born in 2000 are at risk of developing diabetes within their lifetime. Roadblocks to quality, affordable health coverage and care had been virtually cemented in place prior to the enactment of health reform. The Affordable Care Act was the first step forward in changing the status quo that made Latinos the most uninsured community in the country.

    While lawyers and experts may disagree about whether or not the Affordable Care Act should move forward, there’s no disagreement about one simple fact: this law has already shifted health care as we know it in the United States. From a parent’s or caretaker’s perspective, there are obvious gains that have been made in a short amount of time. Consider this:

    • Most Americans should have seen their out-of-pocket medical expenses for necessary tests and screening decrease between 2011 and 2012. Seventy-two preventive services were declared free of charge for patients, meaning that services such as well-child visits became free. This was an important addition to the pocketbooks of Latinos, who dish out more of their resources for medical expenses than any other group.
    • Key provisions in the law already require that states maintain eligibility levels for Medicaid. The protections have been vital in securing program access for the most vulnerable Americans, including the one in four Latino adults and one in two Latino children who are on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    • An astonishing 736,000 young adult Latinos under the age of 26 were able to secure insurance through their parents in the two years after the enactment of the ACA. That is the highest gain in insurance of any racial or ethnic group, and a promising trend for a population in which 50,000 individuals turn 18 each month. Similar to their peers just entering the workforce or college, they may not have another option for affordable insurance.
    • Finally, consumer protections have been heavily bolstered. For instance, insurance companies can no longer deny dependent coverage to a family with a very sick child.

    So as the Supreme Court proceedings inch closer, legal jargon and political statements may rule the day. But hundreds of people camped out for seats show what—and who—is really at stake. Should we take away coverage for more than a million young adult workers just getting on their feet, or children suffering from cancer or asthma or heart conditions? That is exactly what would happen without the Affordable Care Act. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, one thing is undeniable—the Affordable Care Act has already and could continue to open access to health coverage for millions of Americans who need it.
     


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    By Jennifer Ng’andu, Deputy Director, Health Policy Project, NCLR

    It’s probably the hottest seat in Washington, DC—and you can’t buy tickets to it. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the almost two-year-old health care reform law. For or against it, hundreds of people will line up on the steps to try and secure one of the few seats in the Court reserved for the public. And for good reason: the Supreme Court’s decision will have major bearing on the health care experiences of Americans for generations to come.

    The outcome of this case is especially important for Latinos because it will dictate future health care access for a population that is increasingly a driving force in the country, but whose health has been put at risk because they are pitifully underserved in our current system. As the data from the 2010 Census revealed, Latinos, often perceived as an emerging population, have unquestionably come of age. Already one in four children in the United States is Latino—and that number is expected to increase to one in three by 2030. Yet Latinos have long been disconnected from the health care system, carrying many unnecessary medical burdens and ills throughout life.

    Even from birth, Latinos have less equitable access to health care in almost every part of the system. Latino children have uninsurance rates double that of the general population. Furthermore, experts from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion note that one in two Latino children born in 2000 are at risk of developing diabetes within their lifetime. Roadblocks to quality, affordable health coverage and care had been virtually cemented in place prior to the enactment of health reform. The Affordable Care Act was the first step forward in changing the status quo that made Latinos the most uninsured community in the country.

    While lawyers and experts may disagree about whether or not the Affordable Care Act should move forward, there’s no disagreement about one simple fact: this law has already shifted health care as we know it in the United States. From a parent’s or caretaker’s perspective, there are obvious gains that have been made in a short amount of time. Consider this:

    • Most Americans should have seen their out-of-pocket medical expenses for necessary tests and screening decrease between 2011 and 2012. Seventy-two preventive services were declared free of charge for patients, meaning that services such as well-child visits became free. This was an important addition to the pocketbooks of Latinos, who dish out more of their resources for medical expenses than any other group.
    • Key provisions in the law already require that states maintain eligibility levels for Medicaid. The protections have been vital in securing program access for the most vulnerable Americans, including the one in four Latino adults and one in two Latino children who are on Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
    • An astonishing 736,000 young adult Latinos under the age of 26 were able to secure insurance through their parents in the two years after the enactment of the ACA. That is the highest gain in insurance of any racial or ethnic group, and a promising trend for a population in which 50,000 individuals turn 18 each month. Similar to their peers just entering the workforce or college, they may not have another option for affordable insurance.
    • Finally, consumer protections have been heavily bolstered. For instance, insurance companies can no longer deny dependent coverage to a family with a very sick child.

    So as the Supreme Court proceedings inch closer, legal jargon and political statements may rule the day. But hundreds of people camped out for seats show what—and who—is really at stake. Should we take away coverage for more than a million young adult workers just getting on their feet, or children suffering from cancer or asthma or heart conditions? That is exactly what would happen without the Affordable Care Act. Whatever the Supreme Court rules, one thing is undeniable—the Affordable Care Act has already and could continue to open access to health coverage for millions of Americans who need it.
     


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    By Sergio Eduardo Muñoz, Senior Policy Analyst, Health Policy Project, National Council of La Raza

    Earlier this month, a curious thing happened in Texas. Despite repeated federal warnings, Texas enacted state rules that gutted its Women’s Health Program (WHP), a successful state program for low-income health care. Because this state action defunds almost half of the program’s health clinics solely due to their affiliation with Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration advised Texas that the move violated patient choice under federal law. Texas went ahead anyway, despite the ensuing loss of federal dollars as a consequence for noncompliance, and now over 130,000 low-income Texans will be without vital preventive services.

    What didn’t happen? Texas didn’t drop its vendetta against essential women’s health providers, choosing instead to come between some of the state’s most vulnerable people and preventive care. What else didn’t happen? Texas, currently arguing before the Supreme Court that it is a victim of Medicaid coercion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was not coerced to maintain its WHP. A program that is—you guessed it—funded by Medicaid.

    Last week’s final reply brief filed by the states in the ACA cases has a quick explanation for the contradiction. According to the states, the Medicaid expansion under the ACA is unique, the coercion is unique, the challenge is unique, and the ultimate Supreme Court decision will accordingly be unique as well. Nothing to see over there in uncoerced Texas, and don’t worry about setting bad precedent either. A convenient assurance about a case that clearly could have sweeping consequences for many more federal laws enacted under spending powers, but one of cold comfort in light of the boldness of the actual challenge and the ineffectiveness of similar attempts at damage control. Furthermore, it’s curious that these state litigants, who were previously so concerned about the lack of a limiting principle on the federal government’s powers to regulate commerce and spend in the general welfare, now introduce an argument challenging the Medicaid expansion that itself has no limiting principle.

    The states seek to assure us that the only reason the Medicaid expansion is unconstitutionally coercive is because it will create the “single largest federal-state spending program in existence.” But what happens next time? What protects the currently second-single-largest program from being rendered unconstitutional once it becomes the single largest after the Medicaid expansion is struck down? Or the third, after the first two are struck down, and so forth all the way down to programs like WHPs? For that matter, what about other spending clause laws that function alongside Medicaid, like the antidiscrimination provisions of Title VI and other civil rights law? If the states are in court complaining about the ostensible absence of a ceiling to the defense of the constitutionality of the ACA, it would seem fair that they at least offer a floor for their own arguments. Slippery slopes are slippery both ways.

    Indeed, trying to shoehorn the ACA challenges into a one-time-only mold seems a little incongruous with the dramatic language that the states use in describing these “grave constitutional questions” in this “brave new world.” Surely a decision on a case of such magnitude might be at least an object of curiosity down the line, if not actually useful for health care reform and the rule of law? Because if the states get the remedy they’re asking for, despite their request for limiting language in regards to the precedential effect, the real-world effect won’t be nearly as limited.

    If it weren’t clear already, the reply brief pointedly marks down its belief that the Medicaid expansion is inextricably linked to the requirement to carry health insurance and the ACA overall. If the Medicaid expansion falls, goes the argument, so too does the ACA and all of its other benefits of affordable quality coverage for those without access to health care. Take Latinos, for example—the most uninsured population in the country. Like dominos, if the states succeed in convincing five justices that allowing more low-income Americans access to health insurance means the death knell of the Republic, not only will newly expanded Medicaid eligibility for millions of Latinos in 2014 be gone, but so too will insurance coverage for almost 750,000 young Hispanic Adults, the prohibitions on cost-sharing for 72 necessary preventive services, and the elimination of discriminatory and restrictive pricing and structuring of health insurance. These aren’t abstract harms.

    The states assure us that because of their dedication to ensuring their low-income residents receive the benefits of Medicaid, they cannot possibly quit the entire voluntary program. But this altruistic motive does not, apparently, prevent them from removing certain beneficiaries and services from the program (such as poor women and life-saving transplants), or from sacrificing the other aforementioned consumer protections of the ACA which will benefit some of the exact same low- and moderate-income families they profess to protect. Are the states looking out for their most at-risk residents, or aren’t they? Is Medicaid voluntary or isn’t it? And how do the plaintiffs explain that some of the state litigants are already alluding to their intentions to break federal law indefinitely?

    As the states enter the final stretch of preparations for oral arguments, rest assured that they’re refining these unprecedented legal arguments to a fine sheen. Don’t be misled by the lofty rhetoric, though. The real limiting principle at the root of all the overall jargon is quite simple: what states want, states get. The fate of the Texas WHP shows that this may sadly too often be the case in practice because of attacks on the ability to enforce federal rights. Strictly under the Constitution, however—a reinterpretation of federalism and the rule of law? Some might say so. But it’s one that seems to come back again and again. And that’s not what most would call unique.


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    By Janet Murguía, President and CEO, NCLR

    (This was first posted to the Huffington Post.)

    The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch member in a gated community outside Orlando, FL, remains an unresolved and disturbing incident. The lack of action from the police--despite mounting evidence that the findings of their initial and unconscionably cursory investigation are incorrect--has led to national outrage, online petitions with thousands of signatures, national mobilizations, and a Department of Justice investigation. Unfortunately, Trayvon Martin's death reminds us of a frightening time in our country's history when violent crimes perpetrated against African Americans went unreported or were protected by law enforcement authorities.

    Earlier this month, NCLR joined with African American civil rights leaders to march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. We marched against unjust and discriminatory laws that threatened to take away our vote and our civil rights. We marched for a common struggle against a hateful environment that is being sown in not only Alabama, but throughout the United States. It is an environment that says that if you are Latino, you somehow "don't belong" in this country. It is also an environment that says that if you are African American in this country, you don't have the right to walk on the street.

    The fact that the Sanford police chose not to fully and thoroughly investigate this incident is unconscionable and unacceptable. From numerous media and witness reports, it seems that the police failed in their most basic and fundamental duty to the citizens they are sworn to protect.
    NCLR joins allies in the civil rights community in calling for a real investigation for this grievous failure of justice. We urge members of the Latino community to join the rally taking place on Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the First Shiloh Baptist Church in Sanford, FL to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and to stand for the protections that all Americans deserve.

    We commend the Department of Justice for launching a federal investigation into the matter and we urge an exhaustive look into what actually happened and who needs to be held accountable--including George Zimmerman, as well as law enforcement--for that tragic night. 


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    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact:
    Camila Gallardo
    cgallardo@nclr.org

    (305) 573-7329

    Seeks to register and turn out thousands of Latinos for 2012 elections

    Washington—Today, NCLR (National Council of La Raza) launched its Mobilize to Vote (M2V) campaign, one of the country’s largest Hispanic-focused civic engagement efforts working to register and mobilize 180,000 Latinos to vote on Election Day this coming November.

    “Latino voters have left their mark in previous elections and will be a critical factor in 2012,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “There is a lot at stake for Hispanics in terms of the issues our community cares most about: the economy, immigration, education, and health care. Through our work to expand this electorate, we hope to see both parties meaningfully reach out to Latino voters and work to advance real solutions to the nation’s most pressing challenges.”

    “As the largest minority group and fastest-growing population, Latinos will help determine the outcome of local, state, and national races. Given increasingly tight election margins, this influence will be felt not only in places with significant Latino populations, but also in states not traditionally associated with this community. In 2008, for example, the number of Latinos who voted was larger than the margins of victory in North Carolina and Indiana,” noted Clarissa Martínez De Castro, NCLR Director of Civic Engagement.

    NCLR’s Mobilize to Vote campaign includes plans for field canvassing operations in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey; a service provider program working with NCLR Affiliates to register eligible Latinos in additional states, including California, Texas, and North Carolina; and a digital program offering online registration and voter education tools to Latinos nationwide. Registration efforts will primarily focus on door-to-door canvassing and community-based events. Mobilize to Vote will engage the Hispanic community at all stages of the electoral process, from registration, to voter education and protection, to mobilization to the polls. The campaign is part of a comprehensive effort that goes beyond the 2012 election, and promotes a continuum of civic engagement, helping eligible immigrants become citizens, citizens become voters, and the community overall engage in policy debates.

    “While our population numbers have grown tremendously, it is critical that we continue to turn that population growth into real political influence,” added Murguía. “Latinos are an asset to shaping a national agenda that benefits all Americans. The only way to do that is to have our community informed and engaged in critical issues and debates, and registered and voting on Election Day.”

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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    PARA DIVULGACIÓN INMEDIATA

    PARA MÁS INFORMACIÓN:
    Camila Gallardo
    cgallardo@nclr.org

    (305) 573-7329

    Registrará y movilizará miles de Latinos para las elecciones del 2012

    Washington—Hoy, el NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) lanzó su campaña, Movilizados al Voto (M2V), uno de los proyectos más grandes del país cuyo propósito es incrementar la participación cívica de la comunidad latina y movilizar 180,000 latinos que son elegibles para votar en estas próximas elecciones de noviembre.

    “Los votantes latinos han impactado previas elecciones y serán un factor crítico en las próximas elecciones del 2012,” dijo Janet Murguía, Presidenta y CEO del NCLR. “Hay mucho en riesgo para los hispanos en términos de los temas que nos afectan más: la economía, el tema de la inmigración, el sistema de educación pública y el cuidado de la salud. A través de nuestro trabajo para ampliar este electorado, esperamos ver que ambos partidos se acerquen a la comunidad en una forma respetuosa y sustantiva para buscar formas de trabajar juntos en potenciar soluciones concretas a los desafíos que enfrenta nuestra nación.”

    “Como el grupo minoritario más grande y creciente del país, los latinos ayudaran a determinar los resultados de numerosas elecciones a nivel local, estatal, y nacional. Tomando en cuenta que los márgenes de las elecciones son cada vez más estrechos, esta influencia se hará sentir no sólo en lugares con poblaciones donde abundan los latinos, sino también en estados con poblaciones hispanas menos significativas. En el 2008, por ejemplo, el número de latinos que votaron fue mayor que el margen de victoria en Carolina del Norte e Indiana,” señaló Clarissa Martínez De Castro, Directora de Participación Cívica para el NCLR.

    La campaña Movilizados al Voto del NCLR incluye planes para desarrollar campañas de contacto directo al votante en la Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Pennsylvania, y Nueva Jersey; un programa de servicio al proveedor que trabajará con organizaciones afiliadas al NCLR para registrar latinos adicionales en otros estados incluyendo California Texas, y North Carolina; un programa digital que ofrecerá registración del votante a través del internet y herramientas de educación al votante a nivel nacional. Esfuerzos para registrar a votantes serán mayoritariamente enfocados al toque de puertas en comunidades hispanas y participación en eventos públicos en áreas donde radican comunidades de hispanos.

    Movilizados al Voto trabajará con la comunidad hispana a través de todas las etapas del proceso electoral, el registro del votante, educación y protección del votante y movilización a las urnas en noviembre. Esta campaña es parte de un esfuerzo comprensivo que va mas allá de las elecciones del 2012, promoviendo una participación continua en el proceso político del país, ayudando a los inmigrantes elegibles a hacerse ciudadanos, registrarse para votar y fomentando la participación de la comunidad latina en debates sobre las políticas que nos afectan.

    “Mientras que nuestra población ha crecido enormemente, tenemos que convertir ese crecimiento en verdadera influencia política,” añadió Murguía. “La participación latina favorecerá la formación de una agenda nacional que beneficie a todos los estadounidenses. La única forma de mantener a nuestra comunidad informada e activa en estos debates tan críticos sobre temas de importancia es registrarlos y asegurar que voten en el día de las elecciones.”

    El NCLR (Consejo Nacional de La Raza) es la organización nacional más grande de apoyo y defensa de los derechos civiles de los hispanos en los Estados Unidos y trabaja para mejorar sus oportunidades. Para mayor información sobre el NCLR, por favor visite www.nclr.org o síganos en Facebook y Twitter.

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    Today we’re featuring a guest post from a youth leader at our Washington, DC Affiliate, the Latin American Youth Center. This was first posted on the Latin American Youth Center website.

    By Sharon Hernandez, Puentes Youth Leader

    Earlier during the month, on March 7–8, I along with dozens of youth from the Latin American Youth Center/Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers at Langley Park, Riverdale and Silver Spring, participated in the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) National Latino Advocacy Days in Washington, DC.

    Over 30 youth leaders from LAYC/MMYC joined more than 350 Latino leaders and youth representing more than 100 organizations from across the country.

    This two-day event provided youth with skill-building presentations, networking activities, and the opportunity to visit members of Congress on Capitol Hill to advocate on issues we care about. In the general program, policy briefings were also presented by experts like John Sandweg from the Department of Homeland Security. The conference provided useful information for those who will go speak to their state Senators and House Representatives.

    Following the first day of workshops, youth from LAYC/MMYC’s Leaders Like Me program headed to Congress and the Senate to speak on important issues that affect us including immigration, education and mental health. We met with legislative aides from Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski’s office and Congressman Chris van Hollen.

    Each of us shared our personal experiences with the issues or stories of our friends who are affected by issues like resource equity, lack of mental health services in our communities, and not being able to afford college.

    As we discussed the topics and showed our passion for them, each representative showed more interest in the issues. Their response to us was that they are doing everything that they can to support these issues.

    We were happy to hear the Senators and Congressional staff congratulate and thank us for being there.

    This experience taught us that it is important to fight for what we believe in and that each story is powerful enough to help make a change.

    Hearing this response will motivate us to keep moving forward. This brought us new hope.

    As a result of our legislative visits, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s offices committed to continue their support of the Dream Act. As we were leaving Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s office, he returned from his meeting and we had the chance to meet him.

    Douglas Chavarria, who had never done this before and advocated for the Dream Act, felt empowered to speak about how to improve his community. “It was great because I learned how to talk to a legislator. To other young people who may be afraid, you should do it [learn how to advocate], because you get to learn to communicate things that you care about,” said Douglas. “I felt empowered to speak about how to improve our community.”

    To those who think politicians do nothing, you are wrong. They do the best they can for us to have equal rights and opportunities. We just have to do our part in letting them know our concerns, stories, and experiences.

    What is next for us? Puentes Youth Leaders will be registering new voters at LAYC and community events through a partnership with the National Council of La Raza. We started on March 17, 2012 at LAYC’s Youth United for Healthy Communities Spring Conference and will continue in the next few months. Our next stop is the LAYC/MMYC Annual Youth Job Fair, Saturday, March 24, at Montgomery Blair High School. If you have a community event where you would like Puentes Youth Leaders to register voters, send an email to Cheryl Aguilar, Puentes Coordinator, to Cheryl@layc-dc.org.

    Sharon is a Puentes Youth Leader at LAYC/MMYC at Langley Park. Puentes: Bridging Youth to Healthy Behaviors! is an initiative in northern Prince George's County that strives to increase public understanding of and public support for mental health services to youth and their families, particularly for the Spanish-speaking immigrant community.
     


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  • 03/23/12--14:05: The @NCLR Weekly Top 10
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    An index of what’s happened in health care since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act two years ago, and a quick overview of the Supreme Court case to be heard next week.

    Number of women who have received preventive care with no co-pay since the bill became law: 20 million

    Year in which insurers will not be able to charge women more than men for the same premiums: 2014

    Amount that seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare have saved on prescription drugs thanks to the new law: 3.1 billion

    Percentage of uninsured residents in Massachusetts, the “model” state for the Affordable Care Act: 4.9

    Percentage of uninsured residents in Texas, one of the states challenging the law: 27.6

    Number of Latinos 26 years or younger that were able to secure insurance from their parent’s coverage: 736,000

    Total of Hispanic-owned small businesses in the nation: 1.6 million

    Estimate of small businesses that could qualify for a tax credit to offset the cost of insurance this year: 4 million

    Total relief through a tax credit for small businesses over the next 10 years: $40 billion

    Percent change in number of Americans supporting the law since 2010: +34

    Percent change in number of Americans disapproving of the law since 2010: +9

    Number of Latino children born in 2000 who are at risk of developing diabetes within their lifetime: 1 in 2

    Number of people who will be denied coverage under the Act for having diabetes: 0

    Amount the Act includes in new Medicaid funding for the territories and Puerto Rico: $6.3 billion

    Hours granted by the Supreme Court to hear this case, the longest in 47 years: 6

    Minimum number of times the U.S. Supreme Court has supported federal regulation of interstate commerce: 2

    Number of Republican-appointed justices that the Obama administration would need to win the case: likely, 1

    Number of jobs that repealing the law could potentially cost the U.S., according to a Harvard economist: 4 million


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    For Immediate Release

    Contact:
    Lisa Navarette
    lnavarette@nclr.org

    202-776-1744

    Washington– The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., today mourned the untimely passing of legal and civil rights icon John Payton. Mr. Payton, who was President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, passed away yesterday in Baltimore, Maryland.

    “The legal world and the entire civil rights community have lost a great champion. I had the privilege of working with John Payton on the issues of civil rights, affirmative action, and educational equity and I was always in awe of his brilliance, the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience, and his unwavering commitment to our cause,” stated Janet Murguia, NCLR President and CEO.

    “Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Gay McDougall, his family and his many friends and colleagues here and around the world. He will be sorely missed. It is incumbent upon all of us to continue his legacy of advocating for fairness, equity, and justice for all,” concluded Murguía.

    NCLR—the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States—works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information on NCLR, please visit www.nclr.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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