As we start this new year, we wanted to take time following a period of mourning with family, friends, and community to pay a special tribute to our friend and colleague Dr. Carmen Landau, who passed away while supporting our conference in October. As part of this tribute, we would like to also uplift the fundraising efforts to continue her work and legacy.
Carmen was an activist who brought much needed change to our world. She did her medical training in Cuba while simultaneously learning Spanish, an early sign of the determination and dedication she showed in her work, and she always performed her work with kindness and diligence – whether doing wound care for people who use drugs out of the back of a van or providing reproductive health and abortion care in the clinic.
Those of us who had the honor of sharing space with Carmen knew our lives were changed from the first moment we met her. Carmen’s presence, spirit, and energy touched everyone around her. She unapologetically embodied the principles of harm reduction in her life and practice – the beauty and messiness of it all.
For many, including our community, her loss is profound and difficult to bear. Our grief runs deep and is constant in our hearts and minds – and yet, remembering Carmen’s life and work is a gift that brings joy, reminding us to always approach our world with compassion and integrity. Her legacy asks us to always lead with our hearts by being courageous and bold despite the unknown and to fight for justice and dignity for all.
Carmen, we love you and thank you for showing us how to be brave in the face of fear and steadfast when confronted with injustice without relinquishing humor, grace, tenderness, or our humanity.
A message from Valley Abortion Group, to all who loved and admired Carmen:
For those of us providing abortion care, this past year has been particularly hard. Not only have we lost our beloved friend and colleague, but Roe has been overturned, leading to abortion bans in 12 states and impending restrictions in many others. Abortion bans result in delays for patients seeking care, increasing the need for abortion care later in pregnancy. The few clinics that offer this service have become so busy that patients may have to wait 3-4 weeks for an appointment.
The clinic in New Mexico where Carmen previously worked – the only clinic in the Southwest offering third trimester abortions – has just paused this care indefinitely. Before her death, Carmen was working intently on opening a new clinic, Valley Abortion Group, to address this growing need. What was a crisis a few weeks ago has now become a dire emergency. For that reason, Valley Abortion Group is stepping up! We are a Women of Color-led group of local providers who have worked together as a team for years. We are committed to carrying out Carmen’s vision of compassionate and equitable care for both patients and staff.
Help make Carmen’s vision of abortion care a reality! To donate, visit this GoFundMe page.
Valley Abortion Group