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PRESS STATEMENT: Lawmakers Have a Chance to Address Barriers Facing the Latinx Community

Lawmakers Have a Chance to Address Barriers Facing the Latinx Community

COLOR urges lawmakers to advance legislation to create earned sick leave and continue to improve access to health insurance, so more Coloradans can afford care to get and stay healthy. 

(Denver, CO) – Statement by Karla Gonzales Garcia, Policy Director of Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR): 

“The Latinx community was dealing with health disparities long before this global crisis, but it has gotten much, much worse. A lack of access to affordable, quality services is harming the Latinx community, cutting our lives short and threatening our lives. We must do all we can to close gaps in the ability to get the services we need to care for ourselves and our families and ensure workplace protections are there to provide the paid time off.  We have a chance THIS WEEK to take big steps forward in Colorado, but we need your help! 

The Colorado state Senate is considering a handful of bills that would go a long way. Senate Bill 205 will allow people in Colorado to earn paid sick leave, so they can take time off to care for their own health needs or the health needs of a family member.

People of color are over-represented in low wage jobs that offer few workplace protections or benefits and where people are too often denied a living wage. This means we are truly put in an impossible position where we have to choose between the health of a loved one and our paycheck ― the money we need to pay rent, buy food, and meet our basic needs. 

With so many people across Colorado struggling more than ever to make ends meet, we need to do more to ensure that families are cared for and that businesses can thrive.  We are disappointed that this bill leaves out seasonal and migrant workers by taking away earned sick days after 6 months. There is still a lot of work to do, but this legislation is an important first step. 

Senate Bill 215 is also up in the state Senate. It would help reduce the number of people who are uninsured and continue to make progress in closing gaps in access to health care in our state by using a health insurance affordability fee to fund measures to address ongoing disparities.  

Health insurance fees are already being paid. This legislation simply directs them to a state program where they do the most good to help more people get access to benefits. It will also help to create affordable options for health insurance for people who were left out of the Affordable Care Act, including undocumented people. 

We have a chance to help people not just get health services they need, but also support to care for their families. This means we can get and stay healthy! We are urging lawmakers to advance these important bills right away.”

Karla Gonzales Garcia is available for interview upon request.