Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Take Action: Demand Health Equity for Peace Corps Volunteers
Friday, 26 April 2013 07:08

by Janine Jossen, Director, Public Policy, and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer

The two years I spent serving as a health volunteer with the Peace Corps in West Africa were some of the most formative years of my life. They fostered my sense of independence and resourcefulness, solidified my career and life goals, and taught me to question injustices, particularly those injustices that jeopardized the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women and girls and placed them at an educational, economic, social, and political disadvantage. I never imagined that one day I would find myself questioning injustices faced by Peace Corps volunteers themselves.

More than 210,000 of us have served in the Peace Corps since its founding 52 years ago. As anyone can attest, Peace Corps volunteers provide an invaluable service to our country and the countries in which we serve, but we often do it at risk to our own safety and security. Over the past decade, more than 1,000 volunteers have experienced sexual assault. Women—who comprise more than 60 percent of the 8,000 currently serving volunteers—should never have to face the tragedy of a sexual assault, but if they do, they should be able to access comprehensive health care and support services. Yet, Peace Corps volunteers are now one of the only groups of women who receive their health care through the federal government who are denied coverage for abortion services in the cases of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

We must change this outrageously blatant discriminatory policy! Join me in demanding health equity and fairness for Peace Corps volunteers!

Statement: Access Denied for Peace Corps Volunteers
Thursday, 25 April 2013 12:29

Janine Kossen, Advocates for Youth’s Director of Public Policy, issued the following statement today regarding the introduction of the Peace Corps Equity Act:

“Advocates for Youth applauds U.S. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for introducing the Peace Corps Equity Act, legislation which would repeal an inequitable restriction on women’s health and institute a technical fix to allow Peace Corps volunteers and trainees to access abortion in the case of rape, incest, or life endangerment.

The two years I spent serving as a volunteer with the Peace Corps in West Africa taught me to question injustices, particularly those injustices that jeopardize the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women and girls. I never imagined that one day I would find myself questioning injustices faced by Peace Corps volunteers themselves.

Week 2 of 50 Days of Action!
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 07:06

It’s Week 2 of 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls, a campaign to  demonstrate mass support for policies and programs that will allow women and girls to be healthy, empowered, educated, and safe.  This week we’re focused on ensuring education for women and girls.

How can you get involved?

  • Join the ThunderClap, a moment when many people flood Twitter with the same tweet, demanding Twitter’s attention! Sign on to the ThunderClap here:
What We're Watching in the Immigration Reform Bill
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 07:04

by Sarah Audelo, Director, Domestic Policy

As advocates for young people’s sexual health and rights, many may not think of us as having a stake in the immigration reform game. But in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The health and wellbeing of young people both within and outside our borders, regardless of immigration paperwork, is of the utmost importance to our organization. While we may not take a stand on every issue in immigration reform, there are a few that rise to the top—some of which were included in the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill, and others which were left out.

The Good

DREAM-inclusive reform
In 2010, Advocates for Youth stood strong with DREAMers (undocumented youth) across the country and had our hearts broken when the Senate voted down the DREAM Act, which would have given young people who arrived in the United States as children a pathway to citizenship. In the current bill, DREAMers who arrive to the United States before the age of 16 and who have completed high school in the United States can apply for a Registered Provisional Immigrant (RPI) status and move more quickly through the process to become citizens. There is also no age cap to this provision.

Join the 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls
Thursday, 18 April 2013 07:33

50daysadvocatesOn February 1, 2013, John Kerry assumed the role of U.S. Secretary of State. For the previous four years, Secretary of State Clinton had been a champion of women and girls within the U.S. government and around the world, ensuring that the rights of women and girls were elevated as a matter of foreign policy and were key concerns of the State Department and White House.  Secretary Kerry has stated that he will continue Clinton’s legacy in regards to these issues, but it remains unclear how the State Department and other U.S. agencies will shape foreign policy to advance the rights of women and girls worldwide.

Now is the time to demonstrate mass support for policies and programs that will allow women and girls to be healthy, empowered, educated, and safe—no matter where they live. Here's how you can help.

We are bowled over by you!
Friday, 12 April 2013 00:00


by Rachel Cooke, Manager, Communications and Public Relations

There are few things as AHMAZING as when young people, and their allies, get together to work for a common cause.  On Wednesday, April 10, we saw your events, read your tweets, posts and blogs, smiled at your pictures, and joined you in celebrating the very first National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day! Each and every day in the United States 33 young people contract HIV. That is 1,000 young people each and every month. There are more than 76,000 young people under the age of 25 living with HIV in this country alone, and 60% of them don't know that they have the infection. Young people often feel as if they are fighting this epidemic alone, but we were NOT alone in this fight! Thousands of young people across this country stood together to prioritize young people in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

You made NHYAAD Great
Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:25

April 10, the first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, was a huge success!  From the Capitol Hill briefing, to the blogs and social media, to the events and activism around the country, youth activists and adult allies came out in full force.  We'll have a full recap with pictures later, but in the meantime, thanks for all that you did to support NYHAAD!

NYHAAD everywhere!
Wednesday, 10 April 2013 05:59

TODAY is National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day!  All around the nation, activists are coming together to acknowledge young people’s great work fighting the HIV & AIDS epidemic, and hold our leaders accountable to prioritizing young people in the fight against HIV & AIDS.

On Capitol Hill, there will be a press briefing at 9:30am, including statements from youth activists and adult allies.  Check it out if you're in town!

YOU can support NYHAAD:

  1. Tweet and post on Facebook about the day.
  2. Take a selfie! Download (right-click and choose save as), print out, and take a picture with this image - then tweet your pic to @youthaidsday.
  3. Visit Amplify to hear from AMAZING youth activists who work every day to end this epidemic.
  4. Join @YouthAIDSDay @TheBodyDotCom @_CaressaCameron @GeminiInstinct and @lstallworth0 from 2PM – 3PM EST today for a Twitter chat on #youth and #HIV, follow with #NYHAADchat.
  5. Find a NYHAAD event near you via the official NYHAAD map.

We'll bring you updates throughout the day!  Meanwhile, check out what's already out there about NYHAAD

Youth activists have written about why they're involved with NYHAAD:

Blogs and media have been talking up the day, too:

So stay tuned!  And have a great NYHAAD!


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