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….Or Does It Explode?

Every young person, in every city and country, has the right to health, education, and a secure stake in the future. We owe it to them to provide them with the tools they need to lead safe, healthy, and fulfilling lives, and to nurture and respect their leadership. If we don’t, the failure lies with us, not them.

When young people grow up in an environment where they face systematic oppression and violence every day – when they are denied access to education, health care, and economic opportunity – when law enforcement and the judicial system don’t protect them but treat them as targets – when trauma, disorder, and pain are realities throughout their lives – who is at fault when their anger and disenfranchisement take a destructive shape?

We are at fault.

Nobody wants to see their child shot down by police officers. Nobody wants to see their community burn. But here we are, and we have to examine how we got here. We leave too many young people behind, in the grip of poverty and desperation, with no belief in their own value and no path to realizing their potential. Then we blame and vilify them as “thugs.”

What we are witnessing is the result of young people who have not just seen their dreams deferred but their lives devalued and their communities dismantled. Yet as young and old come together to clean up Baltimore today, we see what could be, if we value and invest in our young people.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

- Langston Hughes

Advocates is recruiting!

Are you a young person (14-24 years old) who is:

  • Passionate about fighting for young people's rights to sexual health information and services?
  • Interested in connecting with youth leaders from across the country?
  • Dedicated to developing skills to make a difference in your community?

Apply today to join one of Advocates for Youth's programs!

If selected, you will have opportunities to: develop new organizing and leadership skills; become informed on sexual and reproductive health issues; connect with passionate young people from across the country; and build skills to make a lasting impact in your community. You will also join more than 100 youth activists in Washington, DC for an intense four-day activist training institute free of charge!

Advocates' youth activists have done amazing work this year. You can join them in:

  • Advocating for better sexual health education policies in your state
  • Increasing HIV testing and condom availability in your community or on your campus
  • Providing confidential support and resources to young people who are coming out as LGBTQ
  • Mobilizing your peers around international family planning issues
  • Working toward ending the shame and stigma people are made to feel about having an abortion

Read the full @AdvocatesTweets Twitter stream >>

a youth-driven community working for change
Apoyo para Jóvenes GLBTQ
for Spanish-speaking GLBTQ youth
by and for young women of color
information on emergency birth control for South Carolina residents
by and for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth
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