Things That Matter

California Stopped Forcibly Sterilizing People Less Than 40 Years Ago And Now They Might Not Pass A Bill Offering Reparations

California lawmakers are working to pass a bill that could potentially change the lives of the remaining survivors of state-sponsored forced sterilization. The bill, Senate Bill 1190 Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program, would entitle victims of the former sterilization program to monetary compensation for the forced sterilizations they experienced under a California law from 1909 to 1979.

After 40 years since the practice ended, victims of California’s forced sterilization program might get monetary compensation.

Sugree / Flickr

Senate Bill 1190 Eugenics Sterilization Compensation Program would be “implemented by the California Victim Compensation Board for the purpose of providing victim compensation to any survivor of state-sponsored sterilization conducted pursuant to eugenics laws that existed in the State of California between 1909 and 1979,” according to the bill.

California’s eugenics law allowed for medical professionals to prevent certain people from reproducing if they were believed to be undesirable. According to The Washington Post, the practice of eugenics in the U.S. began in Indiana state prisons and spread to 32 states. The programs began by targeting people with mental illness, disabilities, or anyone showing abnormal behavior. The practice then morphed to include people of certain races and ethnicities. The practice was often referred to as ‘better breeding.’

Doctors sterilized many of the women without their consent or knowledge.

Film Independent / YouTube

California targeted low-income, immigrant Latinx families that couldn’t speak English in order to manipulate them into signing forms to approve sterilization procedures. When pregnant women arrived at hospitals to give birth via C-Section, the mothers would wake up and find out their tubes had been cut without their consent. The mothers were left feeling ashamed, often hiding what had happened from their family members.

A group of Mexican-American women brought a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California (LAC + USC) Medical Center in 1975 because of the sterilizations.

Film Independent / YouTube

In 1975, Dolores Madrigal and her attorney, Antonia Hernandez, took the LAC + USC Medical Center to federal court after Madrigal found out she was forcibly sterilized by doctors. Unfortunately, Madrigal wasn’t the only person to experience forced sterilization. More than 20,000 others had similar stories. Unfortunately, the court ruled that the charges weren’t true and left the women with no justice for what they had endured.

The documentary No Más Bebés chronicles the lives of these women, the case and the women who continued to be be sterilized without consent.

The law changed four years later in 1979 under the leadership of Gov. Jerry Brown. Gov. Gray Davis formally apologized for the eugenics law that devastated thousands of Californians.

SB 1190 has been placed on a appropriations suspension. According to the California League of Cities, “suspense file is a holding placing for bills with significant fiscal impacts. Bills are generally held on the suspense file before each fiscal deadline so that each House can evaluate the total impacts to the state. Bills which are moved out of suspense then go to the floor while bills held in suspense die.”

California would join other states in rectifying previous eugenics practices if the bill is passed.

Allen Allen / Flickr

North Carolina and Virginia passed similar legislation in 2013, setting aside $10 million and $25,000 for sterilization victims, respectively.

On April 30, 2018 the California bill was placed on the Appropriations Suspense file, or in other words, “where bills go to die.” There may be little chance of it passing this legislative session.


READ: A New Documentary Tells the Story of Latinas Who Were Sterilized Without Knowing It

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This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

Things That Matter

This Virgen de Guadalupe Mural Was Vandalized In Los Angeles And The Community Is Devastated

La Virgen de Guadalupe means so much to so many. Especially the Latino community in Van Nuys, California, near Los Angeles, which is reeling after an important mural depicting La Virgen was vandalized overnight.

Although security cam footage captured an unknown man defacing the mural, the suspect is still at large and the community is asking for help in finding out who committed the vandalism.

A suspect was caught on camera destroying a mural with La Virgen de Guadalupe.

The community of Saint Elisabeth Church near Los Angeles is asking the community for prayers after a mural of Our Lady of Guadalupe was vandalized on church grounds. 

The parish’s security system recorded video footage of an unknown man dressed in black approaching the mural with a sledgehammer at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday morning. He can be seen smashing the tiles that make up Our Lady’s face several times before fleeing.

On Friday, April 23, Father Di Marzio led a prayer service, which was livestreamed on the parish Facebook page. Some 30 parishioners gathered to sing and pray a decade of the rosary in front of the mural, which is roped off with caution tape, while nearly 100 others joined online. In closing, Fr. Di Marzio encouraged parishioners to “continue to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us, and to touch the heart of the person who did this.” 

Also on Friday, a local artist, Geo Rhodes, was scheduled to visit the mural and discuss a plan for repair, arranged by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. “We hope that soon we will restore the image, or have a new one more beautiful than the one we had before,” Fr. Di Marzio said.  

La Virgen de Guadalupe is extremely important to the church.

The hand-painted tile mural stands between the church and the rectory. It was installed over 35 years ago as a “symbol of community unity,” said business manager Irma Ochoa. Each square tile was sponsored by a parish family. Overlooking a small altar, the mural has become a popular place for parishioners to pray and light candles, asking Our Lady for special blessings. 

“I feel an unspeakable sadness,” said Fr. Antonio Fiorenza, who is in residence at the parish. “But I feel pity for the one who made this sacrilegious gesture. I pray for his conversion and for all those who show contempt to the Virgin Mary.”

To donate to the restoration fund, visit stelisabethchurch.org

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The Census Results Are In And Things Don’t Look Great For California & Other States

Things That Matter

The Census Results Are In And Things Don’t Look Great For California & Other States

Between 2010 and 2020, the United States experienced its second slowest growth rate in history. Although the country’s population has surpassed 331 million people for the first time, several states saw declining population numbers and will see their representation in Congress cut.

Did your state grow between 2010 and 2020? Or will it lose a seat in the House of Representatives? Here’s what you need to know.

The U.S. Census data is in and it’s a mixed bag for many states.

Perhaps the biggest news from the census data is that the country’s most populous state, California, will lose a seat in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, several southern states (those that typically vote Republican) will gain representation as Texas adds two Congressional seats and Florida and North Carolina add one each.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s acting director, Ron Jarmin, reported the new state population counts at a virtual news conference. The long-awaited announcement has reset the balance of power for the next decade in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College, where each state’s share of votes is tied to its census numbers.

Other states that will see their representation shift include Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New York, Michigan, and West Virginia, all of which will lose one seat. Oregon, Colorado and Montana will add a seat.

What does this mean for elections moving forward?

This data shows that the nation’s political center of gravity keeps shifting further to the Republican-led South and West. The census release marks the official beginning of the once-a-decade redistricting battles. The numbers released Monday, along with more detailed data expected later this year, will be used by state legislatures or independent commissions to redraw political maps to account for shifts in population.

Meanwhile, Americans continue to move to GOP-run states. For now, that shift provides the Republicans with the opportunity to shape new congressional districts to maximize the influence of their voters and have a major advantage in upcoming elections—possibly enough to win back control of the U.S. House.

But in the long term, it’s not clear the migration is good news for Republicans. Many of the fastest-growing states are increasingly competitive political battlegrounds where the new arrivals —including many young people and people of color— could at some point give Democrats an edge.

Do we know more about the demographic makeup of the country?

Not yet, that data will be released during the second census announcement later this year. The bureau plans to start releasing this information by Aug. 16. This data will also used to guide the distribution of an estimated $1.5 trillion a year in federal money for Medicare, Medicaid, education and other public services for local communities.

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