Born in Bogota, Colombia Laura Hernandez and her family immigrated to Miami in the mid-90’s. Last year, Laura received two bachelors in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies and certificates in Public Policy and Latin American-Caribbean studies from FIU. In her college years, Laura was Vice President of the FIU N.O.W. chapter, served on the national student advisory council for AAUW, and held several internship positions.
As an active student on campus she founded the Her Campus chapter at FIU, developed Title IX resource flyers for the University, launched the first feminist summit, and lobbied FIU’s SGA to provide funding to send a coalition of students to the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders two years in a row.
After graduating, she became an electoral organizer in Miami for Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund, where she helped to grow state membership and recruited volunteers to volunteer for the Hillary for America 2016 campaign. In her current role as as the Miami regional organizer for Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida, Laura is able to combine her passions in feminist activism and community organizing to help progress and protect access to reproductive healthcare for all and empower the community she grew up in.
Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida believes that reproductive self-determination and the right to privacy are core human freedoms. Our mission is to provide comprehensive sexual health care through the provision of clinical services, education and advocacy.
Our 11 health centers throughout our Florida region are dedicated to providing services that are affordable, accessible and available to all women, men and youth in the community, regardless of the individual’s income, race, marital status, religion, sexual orientation or residence. Our goal is to create the healthiest generation ever.
Growing up in Miami, I actually held so much angst against the city because it was so unlike all the “progressive” major cities of this country. I always wondered why the transportation system wasn’t like NYC’s, why we didn’t have any trendy civic engagement events like D.C., and why the poor and working class here were so regionally divided and lacked access to essential resources.
It wasn’t until college where I learned how the intersections of gender and race impacted every single one of these decisions. I became more aware of the identities I encompassed as a woman, immigrant, latina, and first-generation college student. Due to this sudden awakening, I became more involved on campus where I created and facilitated events where other students could share and reflect on similar personal narratives.
Little by little, I realized the power of creating such spaces in the community as well as providing fellow women with resources to develop their activism and leadership skills. I also had many great mentors who believed in me which meant more to me than anything in the world. Miami’s young women have so much potential to unleash and all it takes is that one person to tell them “you can do it.”
So now I choose to give back the way my mentors did with me through investing in Miami’s girls and women by building power for Planned Parenthood in Miami, to ensure that each and every one of them continues having their reproductive rights protected which is so essential to every woman’s livelihood.
Helping girls and women realize the power they hold. Many of us are working-class individuals, many of us are immigrants, many of us have more than one job, but all of us have the potential to build the future we want to see.
In Miami, there are many barriers that are preventing women from helping to build the future they want to see, so right now I’m helping to make activism more accessible. In particular, I’m trying to help girls, women and non-binary individuals realize the importance of advocating for the right to decide what they want to do with their bodies and reproductive functions. All of which essentially tie into other reproductive justice issues such as police brutality, immigration status, quality education, equal pay, family leave, policing of black, brown, and LGBTQ+ bodies, and environmental rights.
Stigma and shame surrounding our bodies and our sexuality in our particular cultures, as well as the lens in through which girls, women, and non-binary people are viewed in Miami’s heavily saturated machista culture, can easily blur others from seeing why our reproductive rights are so essential to fight for.
Through bringing these issues to light to in our community as a local activist and as an organizer for Planned Parenthood, I want to be able to ensure that access to affordable healthcare and access to reproductive healthcare services are a protected right and that sex education is inclusive and accessible.
My goal is to provide marginalized girls and women with leadership opportunities, equip them with the necessary skills to advocate and organize for their communities, and eventually foster conversations with them about how our marginalized identities should be at the table in every policy-making decision, and NOT on the menu.
Also, running for office. One day!