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“The Eugenics Movement & the Affects on Latinos’ Mental Health Today”

Author: Jocelyn Aranda-Ortiz

Department: Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement, UIC

Advisor: Samah Elhassan

Abstract: The Eugenics Era of the 1900s created a foundation of racism, discrimination, and segregation that affected people with disabilities, people of color, immigrants, and low-income communities. The Eugenics Movement created institutions where those individuals were placed in order to reduce the reproduction of people that were not considered white and normal. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness within the Latino community and understand that mental health/ generational trauma continues to stem from white supremacy in the United States. The analysis will be rooted in how the effects of institutions still have upheld mental health stigmas to this day which creates a lack of accessibility to mental health resources to the Latino community. This research is intended to create the correlation between the effects of the Eugenics Movement and how people of color view mental health now. The method(s) for this study are literature reviews and surveys. It allows for generational clarity to what has been happening to the Latino community in intersectionality with other identities: disability, nationality, gender, and sexuality. With over 42% of people of color in institutions during the Eugenics Movement with constantly forced sterilization (over 64,000 occurred), the stigma of mental health continues today. It takes over a decade to receive assistance due to the stigma surrounding mental health in the Latino community. In Latino homes, mental health is viewed as not real due to the fear of judgment, humiliation, or disregard. The movement is still very much real as many to all of our systems still uphold systemic discrimination. With the lack of mental health resources, the first step to fill the gap would be to provide full-time counselors, therapists, and trauma-informed therapists in schools. Policy changes should include reallocating budgets in the city to provide more mental health clinics to black and brown communities.

Keywords: Eugenics Movement, discrimination, generational trauma, sterilization, systemic