I hope to make sure young people are prepared to make decisions about their health.
Alysha is a member of the Young Women of Color Leadership Council.
Being young feels wonderful; the world seems limitless, opportunities seem boundless, and there is a feeling of invincibility. However, being young can be frightening at the same time; there are millions of people around the world living with and affected by STIs and HIV/AIDS. Many of them are shockingly, terrifyingly, young, and those being affected most are young women of color. This fear inspired in me a passion to begin my work as an advocate for reproductive justice and a proponent of comprehensive sexual education for young people, particularly young women of color.
I first began my advocacy as the leader of the Pass it Forward sexual education initiative on my high school campus. While doing research for and coordinating the program, the stories and statistics that I heard shocked and frightened me, and ultimately led me to continue my work throughout high school and college. Two years ago, I developed and piloted a program that educates young men and women on reproductive health in my community. Through this small-scale educational initiative, and various other programs and partnerships, I hope to help young people realize that sexual maturity is synonymous with sexual responsibility, and to make sure that they are prepared physically, mentally, and emotionally to make decisions about their reproductive health. Most importantly, I want to be a voice for youth, and be a part of the movement that is demanding access, resources, and information for all young people. I am excited, passionate, and inspired by not only a sense of urgency and alarm, but also by the sheer optimism of the young people that I work with; the limitlessness, the boundlessness, and the invincibility.