- Lifting the voices of Latinos
- Collaborating with leading national organizations
- Adopting a public health model (Ecological Model) and offering Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and training to certified community health workers (Promotores) around advance care planning and end-of-life options
- Identifying storytellers to share their personal experiences
Nuestra Voz, Nuestras Historias (Our Voices, Our Stories) Project: C&C’s Cross-Country Trip to Capture the Latino Perspective
The goal of this two-year project led by National Director of Community Engagement Brandi Alexander was to film Latinos speaking about various topics:
- The importance of end-of-life planning
- The power of cultural values and faith
- Facing dementia
- Latino reluctance to talk about death and medical aid in dying.
Join us in our movement to empower more Latinos to take charge at the end of life:
- Plan your own end-of-life care (English and Spanish)
- Join our efforts
- Share your story
Our advocates include highly respected Latinos who support increased efforts to empower the Latino community to take charge of their end-of-life experience.
|Dolores Huerta, Civil Rights Activist||Dolores Huerta has been a powerful advocate for ensuring that more Latinos are educated about the importance of advance care planning and the full breadth of end-of-life options including advocating for passing medical aid-in-dying laws across the country. She serves on the Latino Leadership Council and has authored op-eds, lobbied legislators, spoken at events, and traveled coast-to-coast to ensure end-of-life humanity for all. In 2022, we honored her with our first Mission and Vision Award, which will carry her name and be given annually to other advocates who share her commitment to this movement.|
|Mauricio Ochmann, Popular Telenovela Actor||Mauricio Ochmann, a member of our Latino Leadership Council, has lent his voice and star-appeal to educate Latinos about the importance of end-of-life options. He has written op-eds and appeared in videos, public service announcements and our magazine.|
|Jorge Ramos, Top Spanish-American News Anchor||Jorge Ramos, the spokesperson of nearly 12 million Latinos, was a powerful voice for passage of the California End of Life Option Act. He publicly endorsed the bill in an interview with Dan Diaz, Brittany Maynard’s husband, before it was signed into law in October 2015. Jorge reiterated his support for authorizing medical aid in dying by writing an editorial in support of Brittany’s decision to die peacefully, and airing special news segments that exclusively focused on medical aid in dying.|
Latino Leadership Council
The Latino Leadership Council represents diverse groups of professionals, community and faith leaders, and experts in the fields of medicine, estate planning, and more. They:
- Bring visibility to the movement through various media outlets.
- Meet with lawmakers to advance C&C’s legislative efforts.
- Hold webinars and events for underserved communities.
- Secure endorsements from diverse organizations.
- Share their stories.
Together, we will:
- Strategize enhancements to Compassion & Choices’ policies and priorities, specific to the needs of our community.
- Identify materials that will be needed to empower Latinos around end-of-life decision-making.
- Reframe what end-of-life options means and correct misconceptions about hospice and palliative care.
Compassion & Choices' many efforts have gained support from several leading national organizations that represent the Latino community.
|Ventanilla de Salud is a program developed by the Government of Mexico to provide reliable information on health topics, counseling and health-services referrals for Mexican and Hispanic families living in the United States. Joining forces with Ventanilla de Salud has given Compassion & Choices access, through Mexico’s entire consular network in the United States, to literally millions of people in one of our nation’s fastest-growing populations|
|The Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing aims to inspire communities to build volunteer organizations empowered to pursue social justice. Its grassroots work focuses on civic engagement, education equity, health and safety, and LGBTQIA+ equality. They believe that those most directly impacted by inequity have the knowledge to implement community-driven solutions when empowered with the tools, training and resources.|
|Latinos for Healthcare Equity is a national organization working to improve access to quality affordable healthcare for the Latino community. They have partnered with us on efforts to educate the Latinos about advance care planning, endorsed medical aid in dying, and served as a collaborator and thought partner on our work to address inequities in end-of-life care. GLAA.org|
|The Latino Commission on AIDS is a nonprofit organization acting in response to the critical, unmet need for HIV prevention and care for Latinos. The Commission realizes its mission by spearheading health advocacy for Latinos, promoting HIV education, developing model prevention programs for high-risk communities, and by building capacity in community organizations. The Latino Commission on AIDS has proudly served the Latino LGBTQ population and is committed to creating and promoting a safe space. The Commission founded the Hispanic Health Network, dedicated to eradicating health disparities in our the Latino community. Guillermo Chacon, its president and CEO, serves on Compassion & Choices’ Latino Leadership Council and provides guidance on the many cultural issues affecting patients and families at the end of life.|
|The Latinx National Task Force is an independent grassroots coalition of national, state and local organizations/members coming together to address gaps in resources, bilingual information, data, policy and funding. Compassion & Choices partners with the task force to strategically articulate, bridge and connect Latino/Hispanic people with end-of-life care resources.|
|Research, Education and Access for Community Health (R.E.A.C.H.) is a nonprofit organization that provides evidenced-based research, information, development and implementation of programs to improve community health services and access to care in the state of Nevada. This collaboration aids in mass dissemination of educational materials about end-of-life care options within the Hispanic/Latino community.|
|The National Hispanic Council on Aging has worked with Compassion & Choices to advance the full range of end-of-life options for nearly a decade. Their support has included translation assistance, op-eds and participation in our leadership council by their president, Dr. Yanira Cruz; an endorsement of medical aid in dying; and collaboration in our work to reduce inequities in end-of-life care.|
|New Mexico Community Health Worker Association/ Nuestra Salud is a nonprofit organization by and for community health workers whose mission is to nurture the Community Health Worker Model to collectively improve access and quality of healthcare for people by advocating for and empowering its members. Compassion & Choices collaborates with the association by providing capacity-building training to Latino Community Health Workers/ Promotoras de Salud about end-of-life and advance healthcare planning.|
|Latina SHARE is a national nonprofit organization that supports, educates and empowers anyone who has been diagnosed with women’s cancers, and provides outreach to the general public about signs and symptoms. Latina SHARE has collaborated with Compassion & Choices on the Nuestra Voz Nuestras Historias (Our Voice Our Stories) initiative to give voice to the Latino population at the end of life.|
|The Mexican Coalition for the Empowerment of Youth and Families’ mission is to develop the individual, organizational and community capacities that will enable Latinos and Mexican Americans to realize their full civic, cultural and political integration into American society in the Latino community in New York. Compassion & Choices and Coalicion Mexicana joined forces to provide capacity-building training to Latino community health workers about end-of-life and advanced healthcare planning in New York.|
|Howard Brown Health is one of the nation’s leading LGBTQ organizations. Through our partnership with their elder services program, we are able to better serve and participate in conversations regarding end-of-life care options in both English and Spanish.|
|The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) is an award-winning nonprofit that identifies, inspires, prepares and positions Latino leaders in the classroom, community and workforce to meet America’s priorities. The HHF was established by the White House in 1988. Compassion & Choices is teaming up with HHF to get people talking about end-of-life planning, hospice, life support, medical power of attorney and medical aid-in-dying. Their involvement has included op-eds and a social media campaign to promote the End-of-Life Decisions Guide and Toolkit in both Spanish and English.|
Public Education Campaigns
This opinion piece was written by Dan Diaz and was originally published by HLNTVon October 20, 2015.
My wife, Brittany Maynard, passed away peacefully last year on November 1.
On New Year’s Day of 2014, we discovered that Brittany had a brain tumor, that it was very large, and that there was no cure.
Brittany endured an eight-hour brain surgery and we researched every treatment option that was available. Just two months after the surgery, the tumor showed signs that it was growing aggressively and she was given six months to live.
Brittany decided to live her life to the fullest. I took a leave of absence from work, Brittany found a house for us to rent in Portland and she established residency. We found a new medical team, packed up half of our house in California into a U-Haul and drove 600 miles north to Portland, Oregon. Nobody should have to go through that at their end of life, having to leave home like that.
But we did it, all because Oregon has something that California did not at the time: A law allowing doctors to provide lethal prescriptions to competent adults who are terminally ill and have six months to live.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill permitting this end-of-life option Oct. 5 -- a year too late for Brittany.
“I’m not afraid to die.” Brittany said to me one day. “I’m not afraid of death. Death does not have that power over me anymore.” Those words were not just lip service; I knew Brittany truly meant it. She did not fear dying.
“But I am afraid of suffering,” she said. “Especially since I am dying anyway, I would prefer to die gently, not struggling and in pain.”
Brittany applied for, qualified for and was finally granted the prescription for medical aid in dying under Oregon’s death-with-dignity law.
Upon receiving it, Brittany put that medication in the cupboard and she focused on living life. Brittany’s passion was being outdoors, in nature. So we went to Yellowstone National Park, a spot she had wanted to visit for years. A few weeks later she was hiking glaciers in Alaska with her friend and her mother. We visited Olympic National Park in Washington, Hood River in Oregon, and we took a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
Up until she received the medication, Brittany could not escape the torture that the brain tumor would exact upon her. But all of a sudden, because of simply having the medication, that terror vanished! Brittany had taken control back from the tumor. The tumor could no longer torture her to death. She held a trump-card that the tumor could not defeat.
These two quotes describe Brittany’s fortitude and intelligence of taking control of her final months:
"To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom." – Bertrand Russell
“Wisdom is antithetical to fear. In fact, it’s what enables a person to overcome fear.” -Unknown
Brittany showed wisdom beyond measure for deciding to fight the cancer from Oregon. Her determination to “fear less” is an accomplishment that I fully understood the value of, upon seeing the change in Brittany’s outlook from that point on. She was empowered and in control, and when you are facing death, that is huge.
Brittany died gently on November 1, 2014. Within 5 minutes of taking the medication, she fell asleep very peacefully. Within 30 minutes, her breathing slowed to the point where she passed away. Amidst all of the seizures and suffering that she was already enduring, it truly was the gentlest passing one could hope for. The brain tumor would not have allowed for that peaceful passing if allowed to run its course.
Brittany’s story is a story of love. It’s a story of determination. It’s a story of living life. And it’s a story of triumph. In the end, Brittany did not die as a “victim” to cancer. She died in the same manner that she lived her life: with grace, compassion and love, for herself and for her family.
I keep in my heart all of the good times that Brittany and I shared together. I made a promise to her, to do what I can to help pass legislation so no one else has to move from their home as we did. The passage of this law in our home state of California was step one. I will continue to work on this effort in honor of Brittany.
Dan Diaz is the husband of Brittany Maynard, who died in November 2014 from a brain tumor. The couple moved from California to Oregon, one of eleven jurisdictions that has authorized medical aid in dying so Brittany could have the option of a gentle dying process instead of an agonizing one. Over the past four years, he has traveled extensively across the country to meet with lawmakers, responded to hundreds of media inquiries, and spoken to diverse audiences of doctors, social workers and the general public. Dan’s efforts working with Compassion & Choices were instrumental in securing the passage of the End of Life Option Act in California, and his efforts to advance similar bills continue in the other states across the country.
"California's end of life law helped our families. It should be restored" by Dan Diaz and Kelly Davis
"Two lives cut too short in vastly different ways" by Rep. Mark Deesaulnier (D-CA) and Dan Diaz
"My wife chose to end her life after battling cancer. Now I fight for others to have that choice."
"Brittany Maynard's Widower: What I've Learned in the Past Year"
"My right to death with dignity at 29" by Brittany Maynard
"Latinos moribundos están de acuerdo con mi esposa Brittany Maynard"
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In The News
- People en Españolpublished an exclusive interview with the iconic Dolores Huerta and the Mission and Vision Award. The online story includes the video interview with Dolores and photos we provided with our logo. The story is also available on YAHOO! news.
- EFE, a Spanish version of Associated Press, published another story, a more in-depth piece about Dolores' work throughout their career. The story, which ran in the San Diego Tribune en Español, also mentions her work for the end-of-life options movement. It also includes a photo by our storyteller Amanda Villegas, courtesy of Compassion & Choices, who shot some amazing photos at the event in Sacramento.
- El Diario NY and La Opinion (Los Angeles) published an op-ed by Antonio Tijerino and Dr. Yanira Cruz: Let’s Create a Culture Shift in the Way We Prepare for the End of Our Lives
- Spanish interview with Pat Portillo with Public News Service for Spanish News Release: Group Files Motion to Intervene & Oppose Federal Suit to Invalidate CA Medical Aid-in-Dying Law
- Los Angeles Times en Español published op-ed by Maria Otero.
- El Diario NY published story: News Conference To Urge NY Legislature to Pass Medical Aid in Dying Act in 2022
- LA RAZA (Chicago) published op-ed by Nilsa Centeno: Six Years Without My Son, Miguel
- La Opinion (LA ) published Spanish op-ed by Nilsa Centeno: Six Years Without My Son, Miguel
- We were on the red carpet in Hollywood with Mauricio Ochmann for the premiere of his new film, mentioned in: