|Another amazing Urban Retreat!|
by Emily Bridges, Director, Public Information Services
Last weekend, over 130 young people from 24 states and five countries converged on the District of Columbia for an amazing weekend of training, sharing our experiences, and educating our legislators. And it was an inspiring and moving experience for young people and staff alike!
Young people from MySistahs/YWOCLC, YouthResource, CAMI, iYSO, Contraceptive Access YANs, and IYLC, and newcomers iGLBTQ (international youth leaders working on LGBT issues) were immersed in trainings in their program work, with returning youth co-leading many trainings. Youth also had the opportunity to create and lead trainings, and shared their expertise on topics as diverse as creative organizing; sexuality and disability; inclusive sex education; and LGBT activism.
At a pre-conference, 20 college students worked closely on abortion access, learning the history of the struggle for abortion rights in the United States; present-day attacks on the right to choose; and tactics for ensuring the reproductive health and rights of young people.
A diverse slate of evening events extended the activism and inclusion message. On Friday, international youth shared their personal stories of struggling with issues of health and sexuality in low and middle income countries. On Saturday, activists watched The Other City, about the HIV epidemic in DC, and discussed it with a panel of experts and community activists. And on Sunday, young immigration activist Felipe Matos shared his inspiring story of personal committment to activism.
Last but not least, on Monday, activists went to Capitol Hill to educate their legislators on the importance of ensuring young people's reproductive health and rights.
Advocates thanks all of our amazing youth activists for sharing your stories this weekend. Good work, and keep up the fight for your health and rights!