Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Breaking news on sex education
Tuesday, 19 February 2013 07:49

by Sarah Audelo, Director, Domestic Policy

Last week, Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13) introduced the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act! This bill lays out a comprehensive, age-appropriate, and holistic vision for sex education in the United States.

Ask your Members of Congress to help make the bill a reality!

Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. To have healthy lives, young people need sex education programs which provide them with the information and skills necessary to make healthy decisions – and that includes medically accurate and complete information about abstinence, contraception, condoms, healthy relationships, sexuality, and more.

They also need programs which connect with young people’s lives and do not ignore or stigmatize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, or young people who have already had sex.

Let’s work to ensure that young people get the sex education they need in order to lead healthy lives and have healthy relationships. We owe it to them to provide them honest sexual health education.

Please ask your Members of Congress to help make the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act a reality.

We asked, you answered: What the President should prioritize
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 11:40

In January, we surveyed YOU to find out what sexual and reproductive health issues you believe President Obama should pay most attention to in his second term in office. Over a thousand of you responded! You named supporting comprehensive sex education and eliminating abstinence-only programs; policies which support lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth; and ensuring access to abortion care for women around the world.

We also gave you the opportunity to respond to the survey in your own words, and the feedback was great. Here are just a few excerpts:

• “Treat young people as full citizens and as deserving of the information and services they need to navigate their sexual and reproductive lives in healthy ways.”

• “The most important thing he can do is remain consistent with the message he will not tolerate or authorize any policy that supports gender inequality or oppression. “

• “See sexuality education as more than pregnancy and STI prevention. See it as supporting healthy development in young people and supporting healthy relationships!”

• “Protect abortion rights for all women!”

"The Advocate" magazine op-ed: Op-ed: Young, Queer, and Homeless
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 08:43

We're thrilled to share this great op-ed by Amplify youth contributor Hannah, published this week in The Advocate. Hannah shares her moving personal story and urges LGBT organizations to prioritize young people most in need.

"Before I could even register what happened, I suddenly found myself without a legal residence, car, phone, or insurance of any kind. I was kicked out with just the clothes on my back. Pleas of reconnecting with my parents were met with “We’re done with you” or “You’re forbidden to come back. You will not see us again.

I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with several good friends, have a committed relationship, finally attain a legal residence, and hold two jobs.  Others are not so fortunate. The Williams Institute confirms that 40% of homeless youth are LGBT.

Our progressive organizations are certainly fervent in their pursuit of marriage equality and combating bullying, but the majority of them seem to be appallingly silent on this issue, which currently affects thousands of teens. It’s a combination of issues, relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, class, and race. It’s complicated, but couldn’t we all acknowledge that there’s more to social justice for the LGBT community than just marriage equality?"

Read more


February 7 is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 12:29

by Trina Scott, Senior Program Manager, Young Women of Color Empowerment 

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. We’ll be tweeting and posting on Facebook about events and resources throughout the day to#NBHAAD – follow us and re-tweet!

Recently I visited with students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) around the country to help them plan their February 7 events and what I saw was amazing. From candlelight vigils for those affected by the epidemic, to testing initiatives, to movie showings, student activists are leading the fight against AIDS. Visit our youtube channel to see them in action.

Campus organizers at the University of North Carolina are hosting the “I am AIDS campaign.” Share a picture of yourself with a sign indicating how you have been impacted by HIV/AIDS or why you’re involved with HIV Awareness work.

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.


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