Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day
Friday, 01 February 2013 09:19

Today's young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, almost 40 percent of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29. Despite this harsh reality, young people and their allies are determined to end this pandemic once and for all.

It’s more important than ever to recommit to the fight against HIV and AIDS. We must continue to invest in scientific advancements like a vaccine and a cure - without forgetting the importance of prevention strategies and ensuring equal access to information and healthcare for everyone. And most importantly, we must invest in young people - bring them to the table not only as partners, but as leaderstruly turn the tide of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. Only by fully investing in young people - in their health, their education, and their leadership - can we reach an AIDS-free generation.

Learn more about National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day

Learn more about HIV among young people in the United States

From Clinton to Kerry: Keep the promise to women, youth
Friday, 01 February 2013 09:04

Advocates' Director of Public Policy Janine Kossen provides a great retrospective on Hillary Clinton's time as Secretary of State, and provides recommendations for Senator John Kerry as he takes the position, in Politico today.  Excerpt below or read the whole piece

"...Less well known [than Clinton's committment to women's and girls' rights] is her attention to young people. During her tenure, she created the first-ever Office of Global Youth Issues and hosted 59 town halls around the world. From Tunis to Tripoli and from Phnom Penh to Pristina, she listened as young leaders expressed their concerns about the economy, political participation, global health and everything in between. Her State Department also helped achieve a bold and progressive declaration recognizing youth sexual and reproductive health and rights at the 2012 United Nations Commission on Population and Development.

As she has stated, “When young people can claim their right to education and health — including sexual and reproductive health — they increase their opportunities to become a powerful force for economic development and positive change.” Coupled with the United States Agency for International Development’s new Youth in Development Policy, her leadership has helped build the momentum we need to elevate and expand our focus on the largest generation of young people in history.

Her leadership didn’t stop there, however.   (Read the Politico piece)

Access denied.
Thursday, 31 January 2013 11:00

by Kate Stewart, Executive Vice President for Public Affairs

Should a woman’s access to safe abortion care be determined by her income level?

Ask President Obama to stand strong and protect access to safe abortion care for ALL women.

Last week, we marked the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the historic decision that made abortion legal in the United States. But while Roe was an important victory, it wasn’t the end of the fight to ensure all women have access to safe, affordable abortion care.

Millions of women in America – in particular low-income women, young women, and women of color – are denied access to abortion coverage because they get their health insurance through the U.S. government. When faced with an unintended pregnancy, it is vital that women are able to consider all options available to them, regardless of how much money they have.

In honor of the Roe anniversary, President Obama recommitted to “supporting women and families in the choices they make.” Now we need the President to stand with low-income women by submitting a budget which does not restrict coverage of abortion care for women who have government-funded insurance.

Ask President Obama to make good on his promise to protect abortion rights for all women.

No woman should have her pregnancy options limited because she cannot afford to have an abortion. We have not fully secured abortion rights until all women have access to safe, affordable abortion care.

A New Generation of Abortion Activists
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 08:43

by Julia Reticker-Flynn, Manager, Youth Activist Network. To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, this blog is part of a series profiling a new generation of activists working to destigmatize abortion and ensure access to safe, affordable abortion care. Published in partnership with RH Reality Check.

Nearly two years ago, I was sitting in our conference room, and I was frustrated. We all were. We were discussing the unprecedented number of anti-abortion bills being proposed—and passed—in state legislatures around the country: waiting periods designed to harass women, unnecessary clinic regulations, parental notification laws, among others. We were watching anti-choice legislation replicate from state to state in real time, knowing that these laws would have harmful consequences in the lives of real people, especially young people.

We were tired of only playing defense. We had to find a way to meet this challenge head on.

We wanted a new approach to activism on abortion issues that was pro-active and on our own terms. We wanted something that would make young activists visible, within the movement and beyond. We wanted to hear about the experiences of the people who had been a part of this movement for decades. We wanted to find a way to give voice to contemporary experiences with abortion. And we wanted to honor the complexity of people’s lives. Ultimately, we wanted a new conversation—one that didn’t focus on the politicized debate around abortion, but focused on people.

Our answer was the 1 in 3 Campaign.

Storytelling has always been a powerful tool for social change. In fact, young activists in a variety of movements were already sharing their personal stories as a large scale organizing strategy. From Dreamers working on immigration issues, to survivors of sexual assault, to LGBT activists fighting for equality, young people were speaking their truths and sharing their lived experiences as a way of shifting how the public understands often polarizing social issues. By sharing their stories, these young people were creating spaces where we as a society could think about issues in terms of people’s realities and not political debates.


A Bold New Conversation on Abortion
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 13:02

by Debra Hauser, President

Today, I am proud to announce the release of the book 1 in 3: These Are Our Stories.

I remained silent about my own abortion for 15 years. Now, as I share my story around the country, more often than not, other women offer up theirs in response. Some are family and friends whom I have known for years; others are complete strangers. The result is a bond, stronger than the anti-abortion rhetoric or the fear of retaliation or violence that too often finds its way into the political debate. In its place is empathy for the complexity of our lives, for the commonalities that bind us, for the need to keep abortion care safe and available.

Created to mark the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, 1 in 3 :These Are Our Stories highlights the voices of forty women. Each story is different - and each is critical to the conversation about abortion.

One in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime – it’s a fact of life. It is essential that people hear these stories, to put faces to the statistics and to understand that women who seek abortions are sisters, mothers and daughters. Advocates for Youth launched the 1 in 3 Campaign in 2011 to begin a new cultural narrative about abortion, and I am honored to share the amazing collection of stories that has grown from it.

Start changing the conversation. Order 1 in 3 today in softcover or ebook – then read it, talk about it, and share it with a friend.


One simple way you can help fight HIV and AIDS
Thursday, 10 January 2013 07:51

by Sulava Gautam-Adhikary, Program Coordinator, Health and Social Equity

Today’s young people have never known a world without HIV. The path to ending the epidemic is long and challenging. But there is one step you can take that's easy, yet very valuable:

Call on President Obama to recognize the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day!

Thousands of youth activists have called for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day - a nationwide call to action for our communities, schools and government to invest in young people’s health, education, and leadership in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Join us on the journey toward ending AIDS.

Take action now for a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day!

Doug Kirby, A True Advocate for Youth
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 14:01

by Deb Hauser, President

Last week, Doug Kirby, a giant in the field of adolescent sexual health, passed away from a heart attack while climbing a volcano in Ecuador. Doug was only 69. According to those who were with him, just before he died, Doug sat down to rest, looked out over the landscape and said, “Isn’t life great!” Anyone who knew Doug would not be surprised that these were his last words. Doug was just that kind of man—full of life and full of wonderment at the great gifts and challenges the world has to offer.

Doug served as Director of Research at Advocates for Youth, back in the organization's earliest days. His tenure stretched from 1983 to 1988. He left the organization a few years before I got here, but his legacy was clear. His research on school-based health centers, sex education and youth sexual risk taking has guided the field for the last thirty years. To those of us just starting out, he was a giant even then, but he was always available to explain the implications of a piece of research, to talk strategy, or to debate the issues of the day.

I last saw Doug at a CDC meeting in March of 2012 during which he passionately argued for greater political resources to meet the HIV prevention needs of youth in this country. Doug had always been a reasoned voice for evidence-informed sex education. At this meeting he argued forcefully for young people’s rights to sexual health information.

I was lucky enough to sit next to him at dinner that night. We talked about our children, Advocates’ 1 in 3 Campaign, and the international work that he was doing in Uganda. His empathy for those with whom he was working and the depth of his commitment to help alleviate the impact of HIV and AIDS on communities in Africa is what I will remember most from the conversation - along with his devotion to his family. Doug will be greatly missed.

Doug Kirby's obituary

Engaging a Generation of New Leaders
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 11:57

Debra Hauser, President

This year, after 14 dynamic and visionary years at the helm of Advocates for Youth, James Wagoner stepped down as President and Executive Director. His vision, commitment and passion set the organization on a bold path as a champion for the sexual health and rights of young people the world over.

In January 2012, with great excitement and a strong sense of commitment, I took over the leadership of the organization after serving as Executive Vice President during the entirety of James’ tenure. His mentorship and vision continues to be a great gift to me. One of the goals of any good leadership transition must be to strike the right balance between ensuring stability and breaking new ground.

Advocates’ mission remains relevant and inspirational. The organization will continue to be a bold and innovative voice promoting a rights-based, evidence-informed, positive approach to youth sexual health. A cornerstone to our vision is the authentic partnerships we have with young people. The entire organization is committed to empowering youth as activists and leaders. Advocates champions youth leadership not just as a pathway to healthy adolescent development but as a strategy for changing the world. 

Help us realize our vision:  donate to Advocates today.

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