Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Advocates Thanks Its 15th Annual Urban Retreat Sponsors
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 10:24

Advocates for Youth will host its 15th Annual Urban Retreat Youth Leadership Institute from September 11-15 , 2014. Each year over 130 dynamic youth activists from across the nation and several global south countries gather in Washington, DC to be a part of a transformative leadership development and skill-building experience that empowers young people to more effectively mobilize young people around preventing teen pregnancy, STIs and HIV/AIDS issues in their communities. Attendees interact with elected officials, bloggers, renowned activists, and opinion leaders, among others.

Young people leave the Urban Retreat ready to leverage their extensive online and offline networks to improve availability and access to information and health care services in their communities. Past attendees have gone on to challenge and/or change discriminatory LGBTQ policies in their communities or countries, put pressure on local school districts to offer more comprehensive sex education and brought attention to the still unmet needs of young people fighting and/or living with HIV. The Urban Retreat provides Advocates’ core youth leaders with everything they need – from media and organizing training to fundraising skills - to succeed in setting the course for a healthy future for their communities.

Thank you to our sponsors for their support of Advocates for Youth’s 15th Annual Urban Retreat.

Black Youth Deserve to Live
Thursday, 14 August 2014 11:21

Written by members of the Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, and Angel Brown, Associate Director, LGBTQ Health and Rights

As this country mourns the death of Michael Brown, we recognize that this is the time to discuss the constant devaluing of young Black lives. Every day across our country, Black youth are told that their lives do not matter. They are thrown into the streets by families that reject them. They are abused by adults that are supposed to be there to protect them. They are denied an education that will equip them for adulthood. They are attacked, beaten, threatened and murdered in our communities, all across the United States.

Our youth deserve better. They deserve to be told that they are loved. They deserve to exist in spaces (homes, schools, playgrounds, community centers, churches, and sidewalks) in peace. When this country repeatedly sees bodies of Black young people slain in the middle of the streets (or in yards), we have failed our youth. We must uplift our Black youth! We must uplift all youth! We must protect Black youth! We must protect all youth!

We are saddened, we are enraged, and we are tired. Communities, jurisdictions, states and federal agencies must join us in affirming the lives of all Black youth. We cannot raise healthy children when they are being psychologically, physically, mentally, emotionally victimized on a daily basis. Black youth deserve the right to LIVE! Adults must do more than mourn and denounce the murder of Michael Brown. We must address the systematic oppressions and racism that negatively impact the lives of Black youth everywhere.

In this time of turmoil, feelings of unease and distrust in police have flourished as more black youth perish at their hands and as they respond with escalating violence to peaceful demonstrations. We must demand that law enforcement treat our young people with dignity and respect, protect them, and not subject them to violence and abuse.  

With this most recent tragedy comes our duty to remember the wrongful deaths of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Jordan Davis, and countless others. Only then can we promote change. Black youth must value each other, despite what society may say. We are valuable, we are necessary, and we cannot let this go! 

We Seek Justice for Michael Brown
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 07:17

We mourn the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri this week. No young person’s life should end under such tragic circumstances. Far too many youth in the United States and around the world grow up in fear and at risk of violence and harm from a society that does not give them the rights and respect they deserve. We all need to keep working for a culture and for policies that value young people, create opportunities for them, and make them part of the solution. Michael Brown and his family deserve justice.  All young people deserve, and have the right to lead, safe and healthy lives.

We mourn the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teen killed by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri this week.  No young person’s life should end under such tragic circumstances.   Far too many youth in our country grow up in fear and at risk of violence and harm from a society that does not give them the rights and respect they deserve.  We all need to keep working for a culture and policies that value young people, gives them opportunities, and makes them part of the solution.  Michael Brown and his family deserve justice – and our nation’s young people deserve, and have a right to lead,  safe and healthy lives.

BREAKING: Ugandan court strikes down anti-LGBT law
Friday, 01 August 2014 09:46

Advocates welcomes the news that Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act has been struck down by a court ruling.  Since the bill was first conceived and drafted, it has been a source of danger and sorrow to LGBT young people in Uganda. The law as it stood not only made being LGBT punishable by prison, but threatened activist and educational groups that work with LGBT people. Many heroic activists on the ground have continued to work for the rights and safety of LGBT Ugandans, even at great personal risk.

While today's news is hopeful, the law was invalidated on technical grounds, without reference to the human rights violations of its content. Much work remains to be done to ensure that LGBT Ugandans are safe and have equal protection under the law.  

Reflections on Social Media Communication: National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day 2014
Thursday, 31 July 2014 08:39

By Rachel Cooke, Associate Director of Communications, and Wesley  Dixon, NYHAAD Ambassador. Re-posted courtesy of

April 10, 2014 marked the second annual National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD), a day of action to put young people at the center of the conversation around HIV in our country, highlighting both the impact of HIV & AIDS on young people and their role in responding to the epidemic. Today we reflect on the use of Twitter, Facebook and infographics around NYHAAD.

Meeting Young People Where They Are

In preparation for NYHAAD, Advocates for Youth recognized that efforts had to be driven by young people, and recruited 17 Youth Ambassadors across the country to share their stories, illustrating the impact of HIV on young people and the barriers they face in seeking the information, testing, and treatment they need. The work of the Ambassadors exceeded our expectations, and their action resulted in blog posts, events nationwide, and proclamations of NYHAAD by the mayors of Gainesville, Florida, and Seattle, Washington.

Over the years, Advocates for Youth has learned that you have to meet young people where they are, and social media is an invaluable tool in reaching young people and elevating youth activism. Wesley Eugene Dixon, a NYHAAD Youth Ambassador and student at Yale University explained that “new forms of media empower young people to insert their voices in conversations that they have historically been left out of.”

Fall 2014 Semester GACC Applications are now open!
Wednesday, 23 July 2014 15:55


The Great American Condom Campaign is a youth-led grassroots movement to make the U.S. a sexually healthy nation. Each year, GACC members give out 1,000,000 Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the United States, educate their peers about sexual health, and organize to improve the policies that affect young people's health and lives.

PLEASE APPLY HERE. Applications will close on August 15th, 2013. All successful Spring Semester 2014 SafeSite applicants will be notified.

Reproductive rights meet economic reality
Tuesday, 08 July 2014 07:36

by guest writer Fran Moreland Johns

“We couldn’t come up with the money,” one weary 19-year-old told me. Accessing a safe abortion for Mandy, this young mother who was already caring for a severely disabled toddler, would have meant traveling for hundreds of miles and losing several days’ pay from her minimum-wage job. Unable to make that work and unsuccessful at one dangerous attempt to self-abort, Mandy now struggles with two babies under two years old and says she’ll do her best not to get pregnant again.

A constitutional right should not be denied those without money or resources. But it’s happening in state after state and is a growing injustice at every level. For a federal judge to say, as Justice Edith Jones of Texas did earlier this year, that traveling several hundred miles to access safe abortion is no problem because “the roads are flat and you can drive 75 mph,” is a slap in the face of women everywhere.

Judge Jones doesn’t know Mandy. Or, in all likelihood, any of the thousands of other women whose rights are denied because they don’t happen to have fast cars and gas money.

Access Denied: Supreme Court Turns a Blind Eye to Women’s Health Care Needs
Monday, 07 July 2014 07:26

Once again the Supreme Court turned its back on the health care needs of women, especially young women and low-income women. In a split decision, the Supreme Court put at jeopardy women’s access to contraception. Today’s ruling allows some privately owned, for-profit corporations to exploit our country’s tradition of religious freedom and dictate the health coverage of their employees. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods Products challenged the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive coverage requirement, alleging that it violates their companies’ religious rights, all the while disregarding their employee’s religious freedom and right to privacy and basic health services.

“Today’s ruling sanctioned an insidious appropriation of individual rights, establishing an expansive religious-right-of-corporations,” said Debra Hauser, president of Advocates for Youth. Read more

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