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Bonamici Invites Advocate for Health Care Access, Immigrant Rights to 2020 State of the Union

February 3, 2020
Press Release


WASHINGTON, DC [02/03/20] – Today Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) announced that Serena Cruz, an advocate for health care accessibility and immigrant rights, will be joining her at the State of the Union on Tuesday.


Cruz is the Executive Director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation and will be representing the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center as Bonamici’s guest at the State of the Union. Bonamici has frequently partnered with Virginia Garcia as part of the Congresswoman’s efforts to make sure all communities have access to needed health care services.


“Access to affordable health care is important – and can be lifesaving – for everyone in our country,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “I am grateful that Serena Cruz will be joining me at the State of the Union to help uplift the important work Virginia Garcia is doing to fill gaps in our health care system and provide critical services to communities that far too frequently face communication, cultural, and financial barriers. We are living in challenging times, with a President and administration who frequently attack immigrants, people of color, and those who live in poverty. We must stand up for all members of our community. In Congress, I am committed to stopping hateful policies and fighting for resources that will increase access to health care for all.”


Virginia Garcia has been a leader in providing health care to communities who otherwise would find it difficult or impossible to access basic, necessary care. It is named in memory of the 6-year-old daughter of migrant farm workers who lost her life after a cut on her foot became infected. Virginia would have been 51 years old today if she had received the medical help she needed.


“The State of the Union is a moment to reflect on where we are as a country,” said Serena Cruz, Executive Director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation. “I’m thrilled to join Congresswoman Bonamici in taking this opportunity to highlight the good work being done at Federally Qualified Health Centers like Virginia Garcia. With respect to health care and the treatment of immigrants we are falling behind because of the culture of rejection and hate this administration is directing at them.


“When those who are most vulnerable have access to high quality health care, we all benefit,” Cruz continued. “Healthier communities are stronger ones. Children stay in school. Parents have the care they need to be productive at work. The battle to remove barriers to health care is something that Congresswoman Bonamici has led throughout her time representing Oregon’s most diverse Congressional district. We’re glad we can count on her to advocate for stable and adequate funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers, ensuring that all of her constituents get the care they need to thrive.


“I am the daughter of a Mexican immigrant who suffered through countless hardships so that I could achieve my dreams here in the United States,” Cruz said. “I am grateful for my mother’s sacrifices and saddened to see our country move backwards in its understanding of the value of immigrants. To see that value being turned into hatred and rejection via punitive administrative rules like public charge, border walls being built, and families being separated at the border, makes me angry and at the same time, deeply grateful we’ve got leaders like Congresswoman Bonamici.”