• April 22nd, 2024
  • Monday, 09:30:04 AM

COLOR Celebrates 25 Years of Reproductive Justice in Colorado


Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights, (COLOR) speaks at 25th anniversary celebration on April 27, 2023. / Dusti Gurule, Presidente y CEO de La Organización de Colorado para la Oportunidad y los Derechos Reproductivos de las Latinas, COLOR. (Foto: Victoria Acuna for El Semanario)

 

By Victoria Acuña

 

 

The Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) celebrated its 25th anniversary at Skylight in Denver’s Santa Fe Arts District last Thursday.

 

COLOR began in 1998, in response to the growing need for Latina voices in the area of reproductive health and freedom in Colorado. Since then, the organization has had many victories and accomplishments in this area.

 

Last year, COLOR championed a bill that would make Colorado a safe haven for people seeking abortion care. It was also in response to the growing number of anti-abortion bills passing in states like Texas. The Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), sponsored by House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar (D-Pueblo), Rep Meg Froelich (D-Littleton), and Senator Julie Gonzales (D-Denver), passed through both chambers unamended and without losing a single vote. Since being signed by Governor Polis on April 4, 2022, RHEA ​​ensures that every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception; continue a pregnancy and give birth or to have an abortion; and that a fertilized egg, embryo, or fetus does not have independent rights under state law.

 

“The RHEA team created a broad cross-movement coalition of over 55 organizations across the state and the country, and over 800 individuals signed our petition. The House floor debate was the longest in Colorado history at 24 grueling hours,” wrote COLOR in their 2022 policy report.

 

Dusti Gurule, President and CEO of COLOR, began the evening program and discussed COLOR’s history and introduced a video highlighting the organization’s achievements. “Our story begins 25 years ago, when a group of Latinas searching for strategies to overcome issues impacting our community founded COLOR to ensure Latinas and their families have the power, access, and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies, their sexuality, and their family,” said Gurule in the video. “COLOR became and continues to be the only Latina-led multi-entity reproductive justice organization in Colorado.”

 

For this year’s legislative session, COLOR worked on a package of bills in collaboration with some of its partner organizations, including New Era and Cobalt. Building on the success of RHEA, COLOR saw a need to continue improving and protecting access to reproductive and gender-affirming care.

 

“The Safe Access to Protected Health Care Package is a set of three bills that build on Colorado’s ability to strengthen our shared values of protecting bodily autonomy and abortion care. Each of these bills has been designed to address existing barriers that prevent patients from being able to access their right to care,” stated COLOR in a press release. The three bills–SB23-188, SB23-189, and SB23-190–were all signed into law by Gov. Polis on April 14th. Two of the bills increased and protected access, but one of them, a bill limiting deceptive practices by what’s known as anti-abortion centers or fake pregnancy clinics, was unique and one of the first of its kind in the country.

 

COLOR also celebrated their youth programs, Latinas Increasing Political Strength (LIPs) and Youth of COLOR (YoC). “Part of COLOR’s mission is the commitment to developing leadership among Latinas in the state, building and nurturing those leaders as we see today as we continue this legacy for the leaders of tomorrow,” said Gurule.

 

The celebration commenced with entertainment provided by Grupo Kaoba, a local music group, closed the night with a performance filled with live music and dance.

 

To learn more about COLOR and their work by visiting their website. If you’d like to get involved, you can check out volunteer and donation opportunities here.

 

 

Victoria Acuña is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.