Sheila Ramirez : 'I Want to Bridge the Gap to Ensure Equal Access to Reproductive Justice for All People No Matter Legal Status, Income Level, Race, or Zip Code.'

If/When/How’s Quick Question series highlights the work of our Reproductive Justice Fellows, introducing our network to the incredible advocates who are dedicating their lives to the movement to lawyer for reproductive justice. We’re so proud of the work they’re doing at placement organizations across the country to ensure that everyone has the ability to safely decide if, when, and how to create and sustain their families, and to actualize sexual and reproductive wellbeing on their own terms. But we can’t support them without you: Please donate $10 to help us give aspiring and new lawyers the resources they need to thrive. And if you can’t give — share!

Sheila Ramirez

Sheila Ramirez (Western New England School of Law ’21) is actively working to bridge racial equity and reproductive justice. Her passion for reproductive justice and racial equity stems from her community. Lawrence, Massachusetts, a city with a significant immigrant community, and where Sheila was born, became home for Sheila’s parents in the early 90’s. Her parents established themselves in Lawrence after leaving Dominican Republic. While in law school, Sheila worked for various human rights causes, including spending time at El Centro Montalvo in the Dominican Republic, advocating for the rights of Haitian migrants. She was a student attorney in the International Human Rights Clinic, and also worked at the Greater Boston Legal Services in their family law unit. She was the president of the Student Bar Association and the Latinx Law Student Association, and also received the Student Representative of the Year award. She worked as a teaching assistant for constitutional law and family law, as well as working for the mayor of Lawrence as Policy Advisor and Press Secretary. 

Prior to law school, Sheila attended Saint Anslem College in New Hampshire, where she majored in social work and minored in politics. During her time there, she held a series of workshops focusing on allyship. These efforts led to her being awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice award in 2018. She also took various leadership roles for a variety of campaigns in the Merrimack Valley region electing progressive candidates to office. 

Sheila will spend her RJ Fellowship year at All* Above All in Washington, D.C.

If/When/How: Who are you and where are you from?

Sheila Ramirez: My name is Sheila Ramirez (she/her/ella). I am proudly from Lawrence, Massachusetts, and one day I hope to become mayor of my wonderful city. 

If/When/How: Who or what drew you to reproductive justice work?

SR: My city is the reason that I am drawn to reproductive justice work. Where I am from, we are predominantly people of color and we are known as the immigrant city. Holding both of these identities, I see the disparity between surrounding communities and their access to equitable reproductive healthcare and my city. I want to bridge the gap to ensure equal access to reproductive justice for all people no matter legal status, income level, race, or zip code. 

If/When/How: What do you want to change (or what are you changing) about what it means to be a lawyer?

SR: What I hope to change is what a lawyer looks like. Currently less than 4 percent of lawyers are Latinx, and that is not representative of the growing Latinx population in the United States, and I would like to change what a lawyer represents. I believe sensitivity and empathy is a strength, not a weakness. 

If/When/How: When you are not lawyering, what do you get up to?

SR: When I am not lawyering I am typically a karaoke rapper or getting into dance battles with my younger brother.

If you’re as excited as we are to see Sheila succeed, donate $10 to help If/When/How support new lawyers like her.