Youth Activists, 2010 Print

Youth activists advocate for change within their communities—working to promote honest, open communication about sexuality and to safeguard your access to sexual health information and services.

Read the youth activist bios below to find out what they are doing in the community.


I want to see youths of my generation and those of the near future free to express their sexual orientations without any fear of stigmatization or discrimination.


For me, feminist struggle is a move towards a more perfect, more equal, happier and healthier world. It is an all-encompassing movement that works to dismantle all inequality and oppression.


While on earth it is my desire to passionate seek a cure to HIV/AIDS and leave the generation after me with hope that an HIV diagnosis isn’t a death wish. 



It strikes me as a fundamental injustice that students at my college are unable to speak openly about abortion, sexual health, or anything considered to contradict Jesuit Catholic values.


The driving force in live that that keeps me going was the fact that, growing up from the northern part of Nigeria, youths in that part of the country face a lot of challenges.


I want to provide young women of color a comfortable space where they can go to have an open conversation regarding their questions and worries. I want to provide them genuine support and help empower young women to realize our strength and ability to make ourselves and our communities better.


I hope to help young women realize that sexual maturity is synonymous with sexual responsibility and knowledge, and to make sure that they are prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to make decisions about their reproductive health


In high school, I saw groups of people isolated because of their sexual orientation - or just people that wanted to know more about their options to protect themselves but lacked that support because of North Carolina’s abstinence-only education programs.


As we live our lives we face all sorts of obstacles that  we do not have much control over. But if there is one thing we should the power to take care of individually,  it is our bodies. Young people need to be given the knowledge about how to take care of themselves.


I want future generations to transform sexual health issues from something that is taboo to something that is accepted and talked about openly.


It is my personal belief and my conviction that every child, every young person, if given the right tools in life, can achieve anything they dare to achieve. Empowering youth to reach their full potential, to do what is hard and achieve what is great is my passion.


I wish youth knew that not only their voice deserves to be heard, but also their voice is valuable and worthy of being heard. I know I lived for too long feeling powerless and I never want another person to feel that way.


GLBT individuals should not have to deal with harassment and prejudice while authorities turn a blind eye. Ultimately, it is about people getting the civil liberties that everyone deserves.



I am a positive thinker and believe with education, awareness and team work, the challenges young people face regarding sexual health and rights can be eliminated.


Just to know people out in the world care touches my heart. Our group has dedicated time to something we believe will have so much success.


A vacation with my friends turned into a defining moment where I could finally put myself to use by being active in the sexual health and rights movement.


I was inspired by this program because I have seen the consequences that have followed those who were unaware of the risks that come with unprotected sex.


With education about sex and resources to support reproductive health and rights, women and families can have more freedom and knowledge to protect themselves and others.


In public school I was offered  abstinence-only sex education through a guest speaker from a faith-based organization.  Looking back now, I can see how biased and simply unscientific the information was.


I feel that if ministers, teachers, and adults as a whole took a more realistic approach to sex and sexuality, they would talk openly and honestly with teens and show them ways to protect themselves.


How can we expect our youth be sexually and emotionally healthy when they get no positive messages, but are bombarded with misleading and sexualized images?


I long to see a new Nigeria were young people take the lead in the governance of the nation, to see that they are empowered through Education and oppose every form of immorality in the society. It’s high time the voice of the Nigerian youth is amplified and no longer drowned, because we need to be heard.


I really want to see comprehensive sex education implemented in all schools in our state, and we are getting much closer with the passage of the Healthy Youth Act in North Carolina.  I want to speak with legislators, school board members, and teachers to make sure that we really do get comprehensive sex education in NC.


For so long we have seen and heard all of the biased remarks made about our community, that gay black men "party, have random sex partners and are shunned by their family members." It is time to end these judgmental remarks and show that we are more than "gay" brothers, sons, fathers, cousins; but valuable people that need love like the next person.


It's easy for adults to simply brush-off young people, but, in persistence, the young voice is not only heard, but it radiates and permeates the minds of decision makers.


I want sexual education to be something that is discussed in schools- and not just among peers as they walk down the hallways. I want young people to know the troubles and toils that come with teen pregnancies and I want them to know what to do to prevent them.


When I came out, I got so inspired to try to make a difference on my campus, in my state and around the world.


Being from Lubbock, I know how important comprehensive sex education is because we did not have comprehensive sex education. This is a critical problem across the United States and we must change the ignorant abstinence-only policies of the school boards of this country.


I believe that one of the best ways to ensure the well-being of the younger generation is to educate them in ways to keep themselves healthy and make good decisions.


My goal as an activist is to support and generate hope for youth within my community, as well as throughout the nation. I feel that love and knowledge are key elements for transforming youth into a powerful, united voice and helps prevent them for becoming another statistic.


I believe that only when youth are given accurate and complete information can they truly make informed decisions about their lives.


My motivation for activism comes from visiting my motherland, India, where I witnessed young children condemned to a life of suffering and pain due to poor decisions and life circumstances which could have been prevented.


Leadership can be intimidating at time, and one may not feel “ready” to accept the roles and responsibilities that come with leadership, but if we continue to look at others to take on the role we are “scared” of, how will our voices be heard?


I want teens to be able to live their lives without worrying about babies because they know the proper forms of birth control, I want GLBTQ people to actually be accepted fully into society, and I want youth to be taught all of the options of birth control, not just one.


I am hoping that the Ohio Advocates training will give me the proper leadership skills and experience to not only resolve this concern, but encourage other youth to take control of their futures and ultimately improve thei r lives for good.


Let’s talk about sexuality and reproductive health now, as young people! Let’s make it normal for people to get STI screenings, to talk about what types of contraceptives to use, talk about consent, talk about different comfort levels with different sexual activities, and talk about policies regarding sexuality and reproductive health.


After overcoming my fears of HIV and AIDS and recognizing the rights issues in terms of comprehensive sex education and those relating to sexual and gender minorities, I decided to add sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) activism to my work.


My desire is reach out to young women who have questions, but no answers; dreams but no direction; words, but no voice; to listen, encourage, and extend virtual hugs to let them know they are not alone.  I want US to succeed because WE are intelligent and strong, beautiful and wise, confident and loving, accepting of who we are, not of what others try to make us become.


No matter what sex, orientation, race, or age we are, we must strive for more comprehensive sex education in our high schools. My goal, as a Youth Activist, is to spread awareness to my peers, and to help in lessening the gap between unawareness and enlightenment.


I remember being tested for the first time and waiting for the results.  My biggest issue was, why did I have to go through this scare to learn about how it’s transmitted and the importance of condoms?!?


In today’s society many teens and adults do not understand that it is more than just getting pregnant: having unprotected sex can be fatal.


My mother exposed me to activism at a young age, ranging from taking me to teen parenting classes to telling me stories of when she would meet with policy makers to lobby for comprehensive sex education.


When it comes to sexual health, youth are the ones who need to inform each other. Only then can we hope to create an environment in which sex is not taboo and can be talked about normally and where youth can seek out any information they need to be fully informed.


My hope is that one day my and my peer’s actions will give the opportunity to all to have access to all information and support that they need to live a healthy and fulfilling life.


I got involved with activism because I began to take notice of how many people are actually involved with risky behavior and getting pregnant because of it. I have grown very passionate about the issue. I now feel like I have a responsibility to try and correct this because I have been educated.


I wanted to make young women more aware of the resources available to them and the risks associated with risky sexual behavior.  This was the reason I decided to join the Young Women of Color Leadership Council.


When I am old and grey, I want to step out into a world where people’s differences aren’t questioned and stereotyped, where mediocre isn’t the norm, and where people aren’t dying from diseases they have the power to prevent.


Three years ago, I got involved in youth activism for teen pregnancy prevention through our local teen resource center, which has now closed down. That was the ONLY place around here that teens felt comfortable going to for their health check-ups. Something had to be done.


I created Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen: The Soup Kitchen for the Hip Hop Soul, an interactive women of color hip hop and reproductive justice event. With this event I combined my love of hip hop to help educate the greater public on reproductive justice. That was the ONLY place around here that teens felt comfortable going to for their health check-ups. Something had to be done.


I want to ensure that young people in vulnerable situations have access to relevant resources and genuine support from peers.


I will remain dedicated to the prevention and awareness of HIV/AIDS in my community. This program has opened my eyes to so much and I will continue to help other spread awareness.


The reason I have chosen to be an activist is to ignite some form of passion in the lives of other young people, to help them realize the need to live their dreams, think outside the box and live for purpose.


I would like for our generation as well as future generations to be informed about sexual health issues, HIV/AIDS prevention and teen pregnancy prevention.  It is my goal to inform young people about these forces that are harming our community, because knowing more will allow us to make better choices.


As a young man I feel it’s the responsibility of those of us who are older or around the same age as these youth to make sure they are being given enough information and being made aware of all the issues regarding sex. I believe we are the future and if the future isn’t prepared to step up when the time comes, how can we exist or even function?


As a queer person I know that most sex education treats queer people like ghosts; we are invisible and silent. This often has serious and sometimes deadly consequences which are absolutely avoidable and rooted in sex education policy.


The fact that so many around the world suffer from easily preventable illnesses and that so many governments have control over individuals’ personal sexual rights outrages me. I applied to be a part of the International Youth Leadership Council because I wanted to do something about it.


I believe that if you educate young people about abstinence while also giving them the tools they need to protect themselves should they decide to not wait till marriage, their chance of catching an STD or STI goes down. What I want for my generation and future generations it for them to be given the whole picture, versus only one side of the issues.


Some of my most valuable and memorable moments have been those in which my peers have disagreed with me and prompted me to consider their point of view and scrutinize my own.


It is important that young people be involved in this movement because we are the ones who are directly impacted when adults and educators deny us honest information about sexual health


I work with a lot of trans folks here in the San Franscisco Bay area and educating myself around the health and process of transitioning.


I have seen first hand youth’s role in these changes and understand that we are powerful and effective method to create the change we want to see in the world.


Spending time in Nigeria renewed my desire to work to ensure that every young person, regardless of sexual orientation, identity, socioeconomic status, or location in the world, has access to the education, information, and services they need for their sexual and reproductive health.


Censorship was a lighting bolt that awakened my dedication to youth activism and to bringing open discussions to a community that is slow and unreceptive to change.


I am passionate about making this world a better, more positive place for everyone to live in! My love for service is strongly influenced by my family, church community, and school, but when it comes down to it, I just love helping other people.


As an assignment from a teacher, I did a project on teen pregnancy, and during my research I found out about the lack of education in schools for sex education and pregnancy prevention.


Our struggles with teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections must be fought head on with openness and honesty concerning sexuality. Teens deserve unbiased, medically accurate information about their bodies and about sex so that we may take charge of our sexuality and make healthy decisions.


In order for youth to be safer and more sexually conscientious, the young people of my generation and generations to come should always have access to information about sexual health.


The work that Advocates for Youth does is very important to youth worldwide. As an IYLC member, I will work to stand up for the voice of youth everywhere.


I hope that our vision of equality, respect, and access to education become more widely accepted and understood.


I believe that in a country as small yet as global as Jamaica it is of utmost importance that our young people be made aware of issues that affect their sexual and reproductive health.


I have a dream that with my help, the help of the government, the help of other young people like me, and the help of God, the youths in our country, Nigeria will one day have a voice to speak on issues and policies made concerning them and their voices will be heard.


The social determinants of health that act as barriers to the underprivileged need to be broken down by my generation in order to progressively move forward for health justice.


Restricted access to the most basic sexual and reproductive health information and services in developing nations only exasperates the problems of HIV/AIDS, STDs, and even maternal health.


Without the information about how sex affects their health and without resources to help them protect themselves, teenagers may harm themselves and others inadvertently. Education and the proper resources could help resolve this issue.


If we were allowed the power that we inherently possess to lead this movement, tsunamis of love, education and health would wash away bad policies, cultural norms, and misinformation.


For an African American young lady to not go beyond limitations in every aspect, in everything that she pursues, is in my opinion a betrayal of our feminine history and African American culture. I do my part by serving my school and community faithfully.


Not many people in my community take action to make a difference in the number of pregnant teens in my school because they think it is something that is normal, but I know for a fact that young Hispanic and Latina women like myself deserve to be more then just housewives and teen parents and depend on the government for help.


I love to make a difference and I knew that being a youth activist I would be able to make something happen.


My passion for sexual health education began in high when my student group organized a World AIDS Day event for students. As this event, members disseminated information on sexual health, and I have been at it ever since.


I am so motivated to do the work that I do because it truly breaks my heart to see that many youth of today are so uneducated and misguided about sexual health


I have the passion to disseminate useful information about young people’s sexual reproductive health as well as other issues that pertain to youth development and empowerment. I achieve this by my daily discussions with peers. I want young people to have adequate information about their sexual reproductive health and right which I was not opportune to get growing up as a child.


I feel that to have a better knowledge of life, you need an education that will provide you with the resources you need. That's why it's important for future generations to know the facts of having a healthy sex life and protecting yourself from HIV, STIs, and pregnancy.


I was fortunate enough to get pretty good sex education in school and now I can fight for others to get it too. It has become a passion of mine and I hope to continue to take part in advocacy way past high school.


I know how it feels not  to have the information you need about sexual health - I wish I had had a group like ours to go to for information.


I maintain a passion for education, particularly among adolescents and young adults, and seek to address their sexuality issues, as well as create strategies that reduce the negative consequences of early or irresponsible sexual involvement.


I want children in Burkina Faso to have the same options as children in the United States, and I know that respect for their sexual health and rights is an important part of their future well-being.


When we have young people who are being discriminated against, we must take a stand. To witness injustice today is a call for action every day.


Young people are instrumental to our movement and need to step forward.  By educating ourselves and those around us we have a better chance of stopping the spreading of STI's and HIV. I truly believe that if I can make one person smile than my day was not a waste, and a friendly face can change the world.


I’ve realized I can and should draw people’s attention to these issues, since making people aware of their rights, educating them to be responsible recipients of these rights, as well as encouraging the practice of these rights can go a long way towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals.


What I want for young people of my generation and future generations is for us to be open with talking about sexual health and rights.


When I first started peer educating I was shy and unsure of myself, but now, as many will tell you, I have blossomed into a person who stands up for what she believes, isn’t shy to speak, and has developed a passion to make change rather than sit back and wait for change to happen


I want my generation and the generations to come to be able to exist in a healthier sexual climate: free of the taboos and societal “norms” that keep us from asking questions, free from the predators, and ultimately free of the bad decisions.


It is important for youth to be active participants in advocating for their health because the voice is a powerful weapon. By remaining silent you give the authority to someone else to dictate what they believe is best for you, when only you know what is best for you.


Increasing awareness is the first step to preventing diseases, and Advocates is definitely committed to doing so. Hopefully someday in the future, the concept of a “pandemic” will be obsolete because people will be making informed decisions about their health.


The fact that poverty and HIV both affect people of color disproportionately means that people who have historically experienced oppression continue to experience it. Those who are most discriminated against need our help the most, and mandated sexual health information will help those communities ravaged by this disease.


I do my job knowing that I am helping make a change in our society and I dream of the day that HIV/AIDS is cured. My motivation is simply to see that I am helping, and it is the best feeling in this world!


My goal is to create a supportive environment that encourages our women to ask questions, compare facts and to simply get informed. I am determined to keep this epidemic on the news agenda and encourage our leaders to take action.


I want to stress the importance of sexual health to future generations because everyday thousands of young people are diagnosed with sexual diseases (many of which have no cure) or experience unintended pregnancy.


It’s high time that we as young people are seen not as the ‘problem’ but the ‘solution’ to the problems that we face.


Now that I have a better capacity to help confused middle and high schoolers, I want to go back and fill in the gaps their sex ed is missing, providing them with the knowledge of the physical aspect of their sexuality as well as the social and emotional impact that a lot of primary education programs leave out.  


I hope that those I educate take the information given, apply it to their lives, make responsible decisions, and eventually become positive role models for the future youth in our society.


I have always been very passionate about humanity and social justice, and have always been angered by the injustice in the world.  Activism is my way of channeling my anger to create positive change.


I am proud to being a youth activist, because I like lobbying policy makers to ensure policies that affect youths are implemented.


When I think about how many diseases are preventable, how we as a society are failing our children by lack of knowledge and empowerment on reproductive issues, and how many of my peers are left to make decisions without the proper tools or self-esteem- it drives me to hit the streets and start talking and spreading knowledge!


She witnessed youth not being able to comprehend what it meant to have a sexual lifestyle, more specifically peers who have a physical disability, like herself. This finally led her to become involved in youth activism regarding sexual health the summer of 2008 with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health ICAH.


I want the youth of my generation and future generations to be empowered. I want us to speak up when the current education system is out-dated.

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