Advocates' Blog
Advocates' Blog
Teen Moms are Bullied Every Day
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 11:33

Natasha Vianna is a young mom and advocate for young parents; the Teen Parent Ambassador Coordinator for Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston; and a freelance writer with Advocates for Youth.

The teen pregnancy prevention [read: teen mom shaming] ads making headlines in New York City are offensive and are a part of a system that consistently degrades teen moms. What these public service announcements promote is a continuation of the unfair treatment of the young women who need support. It enables those who have personal agenda against teen moms to effectively use their disapproval to make their lives MUCH harder than it needs to be.

When teens become parents, they instantly become victims of discrimination, judgment, and stereotyping. They are expected to drop out of high school, apply for welfare, neglect their children, and accomplish nothing to be proud of. For most teen parents, expecting a child comes with stares, negative comments, mistreatment, and bullying. Without a doubt, teen parents in schools are discriminated against not only by their peers, but primarily by school staff.

What happens when the very people who are supposed to ensure you are in a safe and stable learning environment are the ones making your education a depressing experience? I can tell you what that’s like because it happened to me.

Read more...
 
Breaking: The Violence Against Women Act has passed
Thursday, 28 February 2013 15:42

Today the House of Representatives reauthorized the Violence Against Women’s Act – a version which includes provisions specific to college students, native American women, LGBT people and immigrant women. VAWA covers a lot of territory. Some of its most known benefits include funding for shelters and programs to prevent domestic violence. Now the bill is off to the President to sign and become law, so take a minute to celebrate all your hard work in making this a reality!

 
Why we hold our tongues
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:12
by Julia Reticker-Flynn, Manager, Youth Activist Network

Last fall I had the honor of meeting poet and activist Sonya Renee at Advocates’ annual training of youth activists. Her spoken word performance moved us and her passion inspired us to keep up the fight for social and reproductive justice.

That’s why I am so thrilled to share with you Sonya Renee’s videos for the 1 in 3 Campaign. Sonya Renee has shared her own abortion story, and has also shared two important spoken word pieces about the importance of raising our voices and no longer holding our tongues about abortion experiences. The three pieces are a must-see for all of us working toward ensuring access to safe and legal abortion care for all women.

Read more...
 
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!”

Read more...
 
"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.

Read more...
 
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

 
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