Congressman Xavier Becerra has been representing California’s 34th district, which includes downtown Los Angeles, in the House of Representatives since the early ’90s. After winning his re-election, Becerra was tapped by Governor Jerry Brown to replace Kamala Harris as the next attorney general for California.
“Xavier has been an outstanding public servant – in the State Legislature, the U.S. Congress and as a deputy attorney general,” said Governor Brown about Becerra in a press release. “I’m confident he will be a champion for all Californians and help our state aggressively combat climate change.”
Becerra was first elected to Congress in 1992 and has since risen to the fourth-highest position in the House of Representatives.
A photo posted by Congressman Xavier Becerra (@repbecerra) on
Becerra, if approved by the state legislature, will be replacing Kamala Harris, who will vacate the attorney general position after being elected to the U.S. Senate. Becerra’s appointment as attorney general means he will finish off the time left from Harris’ appointment, which ends in 2018.
“Governor Brown and our state leaders lean forward when it comes to advancing and protecting the rights and interests of the more than 38 million people in California,” Rep. Becerra said in a press release. “I’m deeply honored by Governor Brown’s confidence in me to serve as our state’s next chief law enforcement officer. It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve my fellow Californians in Congress for the past 24 years, fighting for working families like my parents, and I look forward to continuing that battle as California’s attorney general.”
Becerra, the son of immigrants from Mexico, has already hinted at his willingness to fight against the Trump administration.
It’s 1970. Groans of discomfort permeate a Los Angeles County Hospital hallway as a Mexican-American woman is in labor. This is going to be her first child.
Little does she know that it’ll also be her last.
“This is an example of erasure,” director Kathryn Boyd-Batstone told mitú.
For Rosa, details a harrowing reality for many women of color in 1970s California. Inspired by the 1978 Madrigal v. Quilligan case, the story follows Eva, a mother faced with the pivotal decision to join the Madrigal Ten after discovering she was unknowingly sterilized.
Wanting to highlight each individual experience, Boyd-Batstone described her heroine as “a fictional composite character” inspired by multiple plaintiffs from the Madrigal Ten.
At first glance, Eva’s story prominently resembles the experience of plaintiff Melvina Hernández.
Hernández, at 23, signed a document that allegedly consented to an emergency C-section. Fearmongering by doctors and nurses highlighted a perceieved risk of mortality, pressuring her to sign a document she couldn’t read.
Four years later, she was informed that she had actually signed for a tubal ligation.
The history of eugenics is an ugly one, acting as a form of silent genocide.
In Eva’s case, medical professionals take advantage of her. Doctors and nurses took advantage of her language barrier and the pain of child labor.
The story, while historical, is relevant in the current context of the Trump era’s immigration policies.
Last year, an ICE nurse whistleblower reported the nonconsensual mass hysterectomies of migrant women detained at the border.
“Although the court case happened over fifty years ago, we are still in a time where reproductive rights are not respected,” Boyd-Batstone said. “This is not an issue of the past, and so the fight continues.”
A mistrust that remains prevalent in the 21st century.
The Madrigal Ten is a testament to the fight for reproductive rights and women of colors’ autonomy.
In 1975, Dolores Madrigal alongside nine other women filed a class-action lawsuit against L.A. County-USC Medical Center for the nonconsensual tubal ligations that occurred during child labor.
A complicated ordeal that received little funding, 26-year-old Chicana Civil Rights attorney Antonia Hernández impressively took on the case. Boyd-Batstone who read the court documents said, “it became obvious that at the time the hospital did not have adequate steps in place to make sure their patients could give informed consent.”
Dr. Karen Benker, the only physician to testify against the hospital, told the New York Times in 2016 that “voluntary informed consent” didn’t exist in the early 70s.
That is until after the National Research Act of 1974 following public outcry from the Tuskegee study.
Following Roe v. Wade, the Madrigal Ten case sought to end the forced sterilizations of women of color, define informed consent and provide consent forms in Spanish at a reading level individuals could understand.
In 2016 PBS released a documentary on the case called “No Más Bebes,” which greatly inspired Boyd-Batstone to create For Rosa.
“The main feeling that stuck with me after watching the documentary was how much strength it must have taken these women to face someone who tried to take their identity and demand accountability,” she said.
Validating women of color’s experiences was essential for Boyd-Batstone. While the film mirrors the malpractices of the medical industry, brought upon by systematic racism and bias, she also hopes that women who have felt “diminished or uneasy around doctors” find the courage to speak out.
For Rosa, sheds light on traditional themes of womanhood and Chicana feminism.
Simultaneously, the lawsuit took place during the rise in Chicana activism.
As tensions between mainstream white feminism and women of color peaked; Chicana activists put legislative reform and reproductive justice at the forefront. Furthermore, they brought awareness to discrimination as it intersects race, class, gender, and immigration.
Though on the sidelines, the case also harbored on the cultural question of defining femininity.
Worried for the state of her marriage, the correspondence of fertility with femininity felt dense. Heavily ingrained in machismo culture; the pain and frustration of no longer being able to conceive are palpable.
But the strength and courage to speak out defies all odds.
“As women, especially Latina women, I don’t think many stories show us how to do this,” Boyd-Batstone said. “So it was important to me to, one, honor the Madrigal Ten’s bravery but [to also] show young girls what it looks like to stand up and fight for your rights.”
Though it has been nearly 50 years since the Madrigal Ten case, the fight for women’s autonomy and reproductive rights is ongoing.
On June 7, 1978, the U.S. District Court ruled in favor of the USC Medical Center. Judge Jesse Curtis stated that miscommunication and language barriers resulted in unwanted sterilizations.
Nonetheless, the lawsuit’s impact was potent. The California Department of Health revised its sterilization guidelines to include a 72-hour waiting period and issued a booklet on sterilization in Spanish.
In 1979, California abolished its sterilization law after 70 years.
More than 20,000 people of various races and ethnicities were sterilized during this time.
For Rosa ends with archival footage of Dolores Madrigal and Antonia Hernández announcing the lawsuit. Nevertheless, its timely release is indicative of the continual demands for justice today.
Now more than ever we must remember the narratives of the Madrigal Ten, and other Black and Brown activists who continue to pave the way for change.
“My hope is that For Rosa humanizes the women so that whatever culture or race or gender you are, you can empathize with the women as human beings,” Boyd-Batstone said.
“My hope is that every person who watches understands that these Latina women are deserving of respect.”
Para Rosa (For Rosa) is available to stream on HBO Max.
A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.
Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.
Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.
Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.
Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.
Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.
After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.
Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.
President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.
“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”
The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.