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Oct 30, 2015
This week I was honored to have attended two events in which Alicia Garza, the cofounder of Black Lives Matter, presented at. First, Alicia is dope! She had this chill, honest, and welcoming ambiance that traveled through the Grand Ballroom. In a room of 500 people, I felt as if we were having a direct conversation because of her intense eye contact and constant scanning of the room. It was a lovely, captivating almost three-hour event.
Garza discussed many different topics having to do with her activism, daily challenges, …
Oct 29, 2015
Halloween is a time of year for candy, costumes, and for me, giving away more free condoms. What it shouldn’t be is a time for an overwhelming amount of sexualized costumes for women, sex/body shaming, and cultural appropriation.
When it comes to picking out a Halloween costume, there doesn’t seem to be a lack of “sexy” costumes for women. In fact, over the years I’ve seen people comparing what options men have for their halloween costumes; women often only have a much tighter and shorter version. (Have you …
Oct 28, 2015
Imagine this. You open your eyes from your first nap after giving birth to a beautiful new baby. To the side of your bed, bundled up in a soft blanket, your newborn sleeps peacefully. While your lips slowly curve into a smile, tears fall on your paper-thin hospital gown. You’ve begun to wonder whether you should call your boss to say you need to go back to work or stay at home to welcome this new person into your family and heal from the delivery. No mother should ever …
Oct 21, 2015
Walking into lobbying day the majority of us were nervous. The goal was to get as many representatives as possible to cosponsor a bill supporting comprehensive sex education; some of us had never done this before and even though some of us had lobbied in the past we were just as nervous as those who hadn’t. We were well trained, yet we had no idea what to expect. We planned out exactly what we were going to say, however it was slightly unnerving knowing that a few of the …
Oct 20, 2015
Dear Former Classmate/Facebook Commenter,
Man oh man do I have some questions for you. When a friend of mine shared the article about George Lawlor saying “this is not what a rapist looks like”, why did you feel compelled to comment? Why did you feel the need to go out of your way to spread your hateful and judgement-filled opinion on my newsfeed when we haven’t spoken more than a “hello” when I see you in public for years?
What do you think gives you the right to tell …
Oct 14, 2015
Blood Equality : Gay Blood Bans Here and Abroad
The discovery of HIV/AIDS in the 1970’s was linked to the LGBTQ+ Community- in the minds of the general public and medical professionals alike. As the federal agency tasked with protecting and promoting the health of the country, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to this correlation, by placing a ban on all donation of blood from male donors who had ever had sex with another man. Established in 1983, this ban was an immediate response to the epidemic, …
Aug 29, 2015
bones packed more full
rolls of extra hibernation warmth
I remember the first moment I realized that I was not thin: my grandmother’s house smelled of Sunday and my family gathered around the dining room table.
They take up space
My parents used to scold me all the time for eating like someone was gonna steal my food from me. And my siblings’ leftovers when we went out to a restaurant were never safe. …
Aug 14, 2015
Please click here to take this survey: http://app.keysurvey.com/f/827844/1797/
Advocates for Youth is partnering with DANYA International to recruit young people ages 15-24 to participate in an online survey. The goal of this survey is to gather feedback about current health information products to determine if they meet the needs of the public. We would like your feedback on informational materials produced by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) for young people. The CDC is a federal public health agency that provides health information …
Aug 13, 2015
Want to be a hero on your college campus? Do you like free stuff? How does 500 free condoms to distribute to your friends and fellow classmates sound?
The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led grassroots movement to reduce unintended pregnancies and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections by normalizing condom use on college and university campuses. Students accepted as GACC SafeSites receive a box …
Aug 12, 2015
We Did It!
Making the Inclusion of Girls in the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals a Reality
From July 26 to 31, I had the pleasure of attending the Post 2015 Inter Governmental Negotiations at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. It was an incredible experience in which I was able to witness first-hand the shaping of the future world in the next fifteen years’ time.
I endeavour to provide a comprehensive review of the procedures and processes that occurred prior to, during and after my sojourn to …
Jul 27, 2015
This week we asked members of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to give us a rundown of what they’d say if they had one minute to speak to a UN official about the inclusion of girls in the post 2015 development agenda.
There are lots of issues to be raised but the one I would speak about is the education of the girl child and the prohibition of early child marriage. Both are interlinked. If you want to empower the girl child then allow her to fulfill her pote…
Jul 21, 2015
Who is Lila Rose?
Lila Rose, the founder and President of Live Action, is the brain behind the “undercover” videos attacking Planned Parenthood. The latest series was launched last week with a video purports to reveal that that the healthcare provider sells fetal body parts on the black market. While this newest “sting” is the project of a group called the Center for Medical Progress, the project director David Daleiden is following in the footsteps of his former colleague and boss, Lila Rose. Both Rose and Daleiden were mentored …
Jun 18, 2015
As an ally to the transgender movement I want to preface this article with saying I am in no way an expert on the experiences of trans people. There are many others who are much more qualified, namely trans people. That being said, it is important to make it clear that Rachel Dolzeal pretending to be a black woman for ten years is nothing like coming into one’s own gender and what better way to do that than with a very concise list!
- Gender is a social construct
Jun 16, 2015
This week we asked the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to weigh in on Nigeria’s new law against female genital mutilation/cutting. Here’s what they said!
I do believe that law is the cornerstone of all societies today. No matter how good one’s intentions are, it won’t mean anything unless a citizen can find solace in the law if their rights have been infringed. Therefore, I think that it is a leap forward for Nigeria to pass an Anti-Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) law.
However, through experiences with perception and reality, one …
Jun 9, 2015
You have already helped to break the silence and end the stigma by sharing your story with the 1 in 3 Campaign. Now we’re asking you to work with an illustrator, and make your story a part of the first ever abortion story graphic novel.
We are working with a diverse group of artists to illustrate the stories of people who have had abortions. You would work with an artist to develop your story into an illustrated format. Then your story could be a part of the upcoming 1 …
Jun 2, 2015
DC Pride has known me before I knew Pride. It was that once-a-year trip we made, my sister and I stuffed in the backseat of the car along with my mother’s books and paraphernalia, thrumming with the excitement of travel that most kids languish in after school’s semester end. Although mostly stayed behind Momma’s vending table, it could not keep us from observing everyone who passed by, so bold with this “something” I could not understand until I was in high school. During the festival, Momma was always chattering …
Jun 2, 2015
You may remember that last fall Alabama enacted a new parental involvement law that puts some young people on trial simply for seeking abortion care. Texas has decided — on top of the many harmful restrictions it has put in place for all people who seek abortion care in its state — that it would like to join Alabama in making it a degrading, next to impossible task for young people under 18 to obtain abortion care if they cannot get a parent’s consent.
State parental involvement laws are …
May 31, 2015
On 25th April, 2015 a devastating earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck Nepal that claimed more than 8000 lives and left thousands of people injured. Houses that sheltered millions of people collapsed and were turned into nothing more than rubble. Its education system has been hit hard as well, where thousands of schools were damaged or were unsafe. The health system has suffered nonetheless. Twenty six hospitals and over 1100 health facilities were damaged and 90% of health facilities outside the main towns rendered non-functional. Those that are still functional …
May 14, 2015
We’ve been cooped up in the office all winter…so we decided to hit the road!
We all know that comprehensive sex ed programs help young people stay healthy and avoid unintended pregnancy, HIV, and STIs.
But we wanted to hear from young people across the country about why comprehensive sex education is important to them and their peers, and essential to lead healthy lives.
So we gassed up the car and hightailed it across the country!
We’ve been visiting youth activists in Nevada, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Alabama, and …
May 14, 2015
This blog post is part of the Sex Ed Road Trip, a blog series uplifting youth activists work from across the country working towards comprehensive sex education. Today’s stop is in Mississippi!
In the fall of 2014, Mississippi Youth Council (MYCouncil) members did condom surveys across the state in their local communities. MYCouncil members surveyed local stores on signage, placement, and product variety of condoms. The results ranged from helpful and affirming to shame and judgment.
“I asked him if he knew where the condoms were, and he …
May 14, 2015
Today the Sex Ed Road Trip makes an unexpected swing back to California, where a judge has ruled that abstinence-only programs do not constitute education.
Research has found for a long time that lecturing students about not having sex isn’t enough to protect their sexual health. But abstinence-only programs are even worse than that:
Plaintiffs alleged that the district was showing students abstinence-focused videos that contained “egregiously inaccurate and biased information,” like comparing a woman who has engaged in sex to a dirty shoe, and suggesting that men
May 11, 2015
Over the past several months we have seen youth activists make their voices heard from the streets of their local communities to the steps of their state legislators offices. From May 11th to May 17th join Advocates for Youth in uplifting the voices and actions of youth activists from across the country who are making major waves towards comprehensive sex education in the states. Read the series here!
During this week, we will be highlighting the work of our youth activists with vblogs, quotes, videos and blog posts on …
May 6, 2015
Just as you wrote in your piece, I want to make sure that you know you are not alone. Facing an incredibly difficult decision without support is something that no one should have to go through. Telling your story to this community is an incredibly brave and powerful thing to do. I want you to know that I stand by you, in support of you, and in awe of the courage that it must have taken to share your experience.
I want to tell you that …
Apr 30, 2015
Through Advocates for Youth, I had the immense pleasure of attending UN’s Commission on Population and Development. A few of things the UN’s CPD is tasked with is to study and advise on population issues and trends, and to integrate population and development and strategies. As our population grows exponentially, we are tasked with trying to find a solution that will lead to sustainable development. One of the top suggestions that might make the UN’s goals attainable is proper education (especially for girls) with a focus in Sexual and …
Apr 23, 2015
So this will be a very personal post.
GYT stands for getting yourself tested. That’s something I know is vital to your health and the health of your current relationship. It is something that both partners should do to be sure they wont infect one an other or complicate things.
I knew this, I knew it’s a must to get tested with your partner even if they are the cleanest person or a virgin or whatever! But I didn’t and now it’s too late.
My partner was a virgin. …
Apr 22, 2015
In honor of Earth Day, we asked members of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to tell us about linkages between the environmental and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in their countries!
If girls aren’t treated equally, if we’re continued to be put down, then so is the whole human race. And if the whole of humanity is fractured and suffering, how are we meant to help the planet? – Allison, 19, United States
Globally, people are consuming huge amounts of resources every day. Although many people and …
Apr 13, 2015
Part of my childhood was spent living with 14 other family members, not including myself. Growing up, a part of the conversation at my home was about not talking (at school,) about the times when my uncle would slap my aunt, or get so angry that the sofa would end up in his arms, and thrown across the living room. I remember that one time, I forgot and mentioned the violence to my teacher: tension at home grew when the elementary school called and wondered how safe I was …
Apr 6, 2015
Health is a basic human right and a key factor in the Girl Declaration. Also, April 7 is World Health Day! So this week we asked members of the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to tell us about health in their home countries, especially sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The most important thing, I think, is that everyone gets a proper health education. In Bulgaria we have biology classes and we are talking about youth’s health, but it’s not that much. If there are se classes included in the …
Apr 3, 2015
In 2015, I believe that we are in a time that equal rights need to be made for all, regardless of how others may view it. That being said, Same-sex marriage should be legalized and recognized in all 50 states. Denying such sanction would violate each citizen’s fundamental constitutional right to equal protection and due process by law. According to Marriage Equality USA, more than thirty stated and the District of Colombia have laws in effect that allow marriage equality- a staggering 72% of all states. The freedom to …
Apr 1, 2015
First things first, I don’t need to say it, you don’t need to read it, and no award shows or long speeches need to be given to acknowledge what we already know is true –Black girls rock and always have! Matter of a fact they do more than rock. Black girls are magic, resilient, powerful, genius, and they matter!
To me its more than the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, proclaiming that Black girls rock. It’s an entire society that tells them otherwise EVERY SINGLE DAY. …
Mar 30, 2015
Hearing of Purvi Patel by accident on social media, I rushed and clicked the link for this story about feticide and abortion charges brought against her. I’m pretty sure that most of my South Asian friends probably never heard of Purvi Patel. It’s not every day an Indian woman makes headlines, but when I saw feticide and neglect in several headlines, I could not look away. Most headlines about Indian women and South Asian women overall pertain to some sort of achievement, something to brag about at the family …
Mar 29, 2015
Today`s global community is in dire need of equality and development. Women, who covers half of the world`s sky, is still under the veil of injustice and discrimination. Women are being thrashed for wanting to study, killed in the name of dowry, burnt for not being able to conceive a baby boy and splashed with the strongest of acid for not accepting the one-sided lover. Men are considered to be the main perpetrators of Violence against Women. Whether it be a boy or grown up man, they tend to …
Mar 16, 2015
“Art begins with resistance.” – André Gide
Art has has the power to change perspectives and to start a new dialogue. That’s why it is such a powerful tool for activists. Now, we’re asking you to harness that power to change the conversation around abortion.
During the week of April 13-19, student activists around the country will create pop-up sticker art displays. We’ll send you a roll of the sticker art (don’t …
Mar 13, 2015
This week, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is taking place. We asked the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to weigh in on what message they would share with world leaders during the CSW. Here’s what they said!
I’m here at the CSW and what I want to tell leaders and delegates and everyone is that while these sessions, panels, speakers are amazing! They’re inspirational, educating and just phenomenal, but they’re just not enough. We’re hear creating policy (hopefully) and change but we’re talking amongst people who …
Mar 7, 2015
Too often, young people’s voices aren’t respected or included in decision-making processes that affect them. That’s why Advocates for Youth (Advocates) is proud to support the Girl Engagement Advisory Board (GEAB), a team of adolescent girls aged 15-19 from Cameroon, Bulgaria, the United States, Kenya, Pakistan, Madagascar, Jamaica, Nigeria, Egypt, and Nepal. GEAB members engage in advocacy efforts to advance adolescent girls’ rights internationally and to inform, guide and advise Advocates’ efforts to elevate and secure prioritization of adolescent girls’ rights in the global post-2015 development agenda. This week …
Mar 4, 2015
Since stepping foot on a college campus I have met three individuals that have been victims of sexual assault. It is a fact that “reported assaults hit 5,983 in the 2014 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up 8% from last year and up from 3,604 in 2012” (TIME) and the numbers continue to rise. The question at hand: is it a good thing or bad?
Sexual assault is a major threat in the United States of America, especially on college campuses. Women seem to be the primary targets, …
Mar 2, 2015
This March 10th marks the 20th anniversary of National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day. Let’s take this opportunity to honor and celebrate the people who risk so much to ensure access to safe reproductive health care every day.
Every single day, abortion providers, nurses and clinic staff stand with young people, women, and their families, often at great risks to themselves, to ensure access to safe medical care – care …
Feb 26, 2015
Advocates for Youth is proud to announce the release of the HIV prevention campaign, Testing Makes Us Stronger. The campaign is designed to aid youth-serving community-based organizations working with and for young Black men who have sex with men, to raise awareness of the importance of regular testing.
If you work as a health care provider or other youth-serving professional, you can get FREE posters and palm cards to help connect these young people to vital testing and learn more about how to prevent HIV. Visit Testing …
Feb 25, 2015
For the past seven and a half years, LGBT state workers in Kansas have been legally protected from workplace discrimination and harassment. But not any more. On February10th, Governor Sam Brownback announced that he was getting rid of these protections by executive order.
This order rescinds the previous executive order made by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius in August, 2007, which first put these protections in place. As the New York Post reports, “The  order applied to hiring and employment decisions by agencies under the governor’s direct control and …
Feb 20, 2015
Chelsea Manning, currently serving a 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth military prison for exposing military wrong-doings to WikiLeaks, has been waiting a year and a half for life-saving medical treatment. Now, her wait is finally over. In a February 5th memo, Col. Erica Nelson, commandant of the Fort Leavenworth Disciplinary Barracks, announced the army’s decision to provide Manning, who is transgender, with hormone treatment.
“After carefully considering the recommendation that [hormone treatment] is medically appropriate and necessary, and weighing all associated safety and security risks presented, I
Feb 19, 2015
I am a Resident Advisor to about 65 residents at my university. As a youth activist, I can’t help myself but to spread sexual and reproductive health information to my residents. Last week was National Condom Week, and in its honor, I provided both male and female condoms to my residents. My residents came to the program expecting free male condoms and various edible goodies. However, they were also bombarded with a new, unknown-to-them method:
“OH MY GOD! What are those?”
“I stick this WHERE?”
“Why would anyone use …
Feb 11, 2015
Last week, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget request to Congress. While the President’s budget “wish list” means little to Congress, it means a lot to those of us who are looking to the Administration for strong leadership on youth sexual and reproductive health in the U.S. and abroad. It is an important advocacy tool and the last time in his presidency that President Obama has a chance to lay out an agenda for the government going forward. So, all of us policy wonks got settled …
Jan 28, 2015
In a surprising turn of events Wednesday night, House Republican leadership decided to cancel their Thursday vote on a 20-week abortion ban. The decision was largely driven by GOP Congresswomen who felt that the details of the ban were too harsh and would further alienate their party from young and female voters in 2016. The bill, which made the usual exemptions for rape, incest, and the life of the parent, did so in a more restrictive way than is usually attempted. The rape exemption only applies to survivors who …
Jan 26, 2015
Freedom of speech applies to all of us, not just adults. This right is enshrined in the Constitution for all citizens to enjoy whether they be 8 or 80 and whether they are in their homes or their schools. School officials in the Rankin County School District need to be reminded of this right. After two students attempted to form a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at Brandon High School, Rankin County Superintendent Lynn Weathersby told school board members he had talked with counsel about how to prevent what he referred …
Jan 22, 2015
Forty-two years after the Roe vs. Wade decision legalized abortion, attacks on access to safe abortion care are relentless, from state legislatures, to the media, to the very sidewalks outside family planning clinics. Today, Congress voted to pass H.R. 7, a bill that targets low income women by restricting insurance coverage of abortion.
In this bleak environment, we need a new strategy–one that puts women’s real life abortion stories at the center …
Jan 22, 2015
Today marks the 42nd anniversary of Roe V. Wade, a landmark moment for women across our country. People could, supposedly, seek legal and safe abortions, without fear. However, thanks to the Hyde Amendment, clinic protestors, and violent stigmas, this has not always held true for all people, especially people of color and people of low socio-economic status.
The Hyde Amendment has been in place since the mid 1970’s, being renewed every year. This amendment bans all federal money for abortion services, which translates to – federal health insurance for …
Jan 22, 2015
Dear Radical Brownies,
We are the Young Women of Color Leadership Council, a group of 11 young women of color, ages 17 to 24, from across the country. We care about educating, including, and empowering girls and young women of color about our bodies, health, and racial justice in our communities through organizing, sisterhood, and community building.
We are writing you because y’all are amazing and motivating to people everywhere, especially us! Stay the way you are! You all are so necessary to …
Jan 22, 2015
High schools are a potential safe space for some high school students, especially LGBT individuals. If high school students are forced to come out to their parents because they want to join a supportive club, such as a Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), then it could be life-threatening. Earlier this week, the school board and superintendent of the Rankin County School District ruled that schools in their district should not be allowed to have, as they called it, a “gay club.” In order to limit this club, they decided that all …
Jan 22, 2015
Imagine you are walking into a store in your town. How comfortable are you purchasing condoms? Many teens would feel awkward or uncomfortable making that purchase. Our MYCouncil members have been doing surveys for the past few months in stores in our own local communities relating to purchasing condoms. The reactions we have been collectively seeing have been shameful. These reactions make us wonder if other teens in Mississippi receive the same judgmental words and glances from adults. We want to inform young persons that they have a right …
Jan 1, 2015
The first out genderqueer adult I ever met was a super Southern queer organizer with a facial piercing. I was fifteen and in the midst of dealing with gender feelings I didn’t have words for. I had been out for three years as bisexual and knew one other trans young person, but he was a boy. No cisgender queer adults in my life understood trans people enough to help me figure out what “non-binary” meant. I didn’t know any trans or non-binary adults.
Meeting that person totally blew my …