Civil Rights Icon Dolores Huerta Partners with End-of-Life Care Advocacy Group to Launch Multi-State Bilingual Education Campaign
Si Se Puede’ Champion Records Online Videos to Urge Fellow Latinos to Support Medical Aid-in-Dying Bills in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico & Nevada
Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta today joined Compassion & Choices to launch a multi-state bilingual education campaign featuring online videos promoting legislation to expand end-of-life care options.in New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Nevada on Facebook and Twitter.
The ‘End of Life Options FOR ALL’ campaign, features Dolores Huerta in videos and photos urging fellow Latinos to join her in support of a bill that would allow terminally ill New Yorkers to have the option of medical aid in dying, so they can live their last days in peace without unnecessary suffering. Similar bills are also being considered in New Jersey, New Mexico and Nevada, states with a large Latino population, so Ms. Huerta also has recorded videos promoting them. Click to view videos for New York in English (https://youtu.be/JeoxoO9GWC4) and Spanish (https://youtu.be/1S-t4BgJ278).
The video campaign is being launched as legislators in New York consider the Medical Aid in Dying Act (A.2694/S.3947). The bill would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adult New Yorkers with six months or less to live the option to request, obtain and self-ingest medication to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Polling shows 63 percent of state voters support medical aid in dying. Last Spring, 37 bioethicists, clergy members, physicians, people with a terminal diagnosis, disability rights activists, family members of deceased loved ones and Compassion & Choices staff testified at Assembly hearings in support of the bill in Albany and New York City.
“I watched my mother, Alicia St. John Chavez, die in agony from breast cancer,” Dolores says in the videos. “Thankfully, New York lawmakers are considering legislation that will allow terminally ill adults to unbearable suffering under the care of doctors and surrounded by their loved ones. Please urge lawmakers to pass end of life options by visiting CompassionAndChoices.org/newyork.”
Dolores Huerta is an iconic labor and civil rights leader and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She is known for her famous line ‘Si Se Puede’ or ‘Yes We Can.’ In 2012, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
“We are grateful to Dolores Huerta for standing up for the terminally ill Latinos at the end of their lives when they most need compassionate healthcare options,” said Corinne Carey, New York campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “Dying Latinos should not live their last moments in fear of agonizing, needless suffering and have the option to die peacefully.”
As part of the campaign, Compassion & Choices recreated the iconic photo, known as ‘Huelga’ shot in September 1965. The image, once exhibited at the Smithsonian, shows a young Dolores holding a sign with the word “Huelga’ or ‘Strike’ during the grape strike and boycott, which led to the field workers’ first contract with California table grape growers. To view the photo, click HERE.
Latinos nationwide overwhelmingly support state laws authorizing the option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill adults, so they do not have to suffer needlessly at life’s end. Thanks to support of Latinos like Dolores Huerta, Hollywood actor Mauricio Ochmann, Miguel Carrasquillo, a 35 year old former New York chef who advocated for this option before his death in his native Puerto Rico; and Dan Diaz, the husband of the late medical aid in dying advocate Brittany Maynard, today 69 percent of Latinos nationwide support medical aid in dying.
Brittany was a terminally ill California woman who moved to Oregon in 2014, so she could use its medical aid-in-dying law because California did not have one at the time. Her advocacy inspired California to pass a medical aid in dying law in 2015, Since then, there has been a growing support of national Latino organizations that include the Hispanic Council on Aging, the Latino Commission on AIDs, Hispanic Health Network, Latinos for Healthcare Equity, most recently, Nuestra Salud in New Mexico.
Brittany’s advocacy also inspired Colorado, the District of Columbia and Hawai‘i to pass laws authorizing medical aid in dying since she died on Nov. 1, 2014. Thanks to previously passed laws in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont, and a Montana Supreme Court ruling, nearly one-fifth of the nation’s population has access to this end of life option.
Hispanic support played a key role in enacting the End of Life Option Act in California, which went into effect in 2016. In fact, Dolores showed her support by advocating for the bill when legislators were still uncertain if they would support it.