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Advocates at CPD
Tuesday, 13 May 2014 08:35

by Amanda Kiefer, International Policy Analyst

In April, countries gathered at the 47th United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York. I, along with Ariel Cerrud and three International Youth Leadership Council (IYLC) members, attended the meeting on behalf of Advocates for Youth. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, during which 179 countries agreed to a Programme of Action (PoA) on rights-based development. Therefore, this year’s CPD focused on progress in implementing the PoA over the last 20 years. The negotiated outcome document, along with other ICPD regional and thematic consultations, will influence the ICPD Index Report, which will eventually feed into the post-2015 development process.

In 1994 in Cairo, Egypt, Advocates for Youth mobilized a youth caucus of more than 20 groups to lobby for the inclusion of language around adolescent reproductive health and rights and increased allocation of resources to programs that serve young people’s needs. We drafted provisions and led the process to ultimately get this language included in the final ICPD Programme of Action. Twenty years later, we are still fighting to see the Programme of Action fully implemented and to progress the Cairo Agenda forward, beyond 2014.

Advocates' team spent an entire week at the United Nations Headquarters advocating for the issues that affect the largest generation of young people the world has ever seen. We joined over 100 young people from across the globe to attend side-events and to communicate to governments our priorities concerning adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), including comprehensive sexuality education; recognition of the human rights of all people, without distinction of any kind, including young people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities and gender expressions (SOGIE); and access to safe and legal abortion.

Unfortunately, while there were strong and progressive statements from many governments on a number of our issues, including SOGIE, a breakdown in negotiations and the influence of fervent far-right opposition gave us a largely “status quo” outcome document. Here’s how it went down.

They're here!
Monday, 28 April 2014 12:02

We are delighted to announce the release of The National Teacher Preparation Standards on Sexuality Education. Created by the nation's leading sexual health organizations, including Advocates for Youth, these standards were created to provide guidance to institutions of higher education in order to better prepare undergraduate physical and health education teachers to deliver sexuality education in school settings.

In the United States, sexuality education is most commonly taught within the health and/or physical education (PE) curriculum at the middle and high school levels. The Teacher Preparation Standards will better prepare undergraduate pre-service students in providing high-quality comprehensive sexuality education that is developmentally, culturally, and age appropriate.

The development of the Teacher Preparation Standards is part of the ongoing Future of Sex Education (FoSE) Initiative to provide the next class of health education teachers the skills they need to become more knowledgeable and prepared on the topic of sex education.

Get The National Teacher Preparation Standards on Sexuality Education here!

Read Advocates' press release about the Teacher Preparation Standards

Week of Artivism Going Strong!
Friday, 25 April 2014 08:10

This week, over 50 campus groups, organizations, and others around the nation are participating in the 1 in 3 Campaign's Week of Artivism.  Participants are finding new and amazing ways to share the stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.  Check out some great pics of the installations at the 1 in 3 Campaign's facebook page.

We were also honored to host a Google hangout about art and activism with spoken word poet Sonya Renee, author Kate Manning, artist Heather Ault, and hosted by Advocates' own graphic designer Rosanna Dixon.  These very talented folks talked about the creative work they had done on abortion, how their art and their activism intersect, and how they're motivating activism and changing people's minds.  Watch it here!

Advocates for reducing the stigma around abortion are also gathering signatures for the 1 in 3 Pledge.  Sign the pledge here, and then urge three friends to sign!

Through collaboration and creativity, we can bring the stigma and shame around abortion to an end and protect access to safe abortion care for all. 

Celebrating National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:20

In celebration of National Youth and HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) Ambassador Florida Mwesiga encourages teens to take ownership of their health and get tested for HIV.This article originally appeared on the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation blog.  

So, I’ve got a question for you, and I’m going to be honest with you if you’re straight with me. Okay?

How much do you know about HIV and AIDS? A little, a lot, or not much at all?

I bet the honest answer is the last one – not much at all – and seriously, that’s scary.

HIV/AIDS is real, it’s not a joke and it’s affecting teens around the world. Young people make up almost 42 percent of new HIV infections.

What’s really scary is that the majority of teens living with HIV don’t even know it.  Today’s teenagers are a part of the largest generation of adolescents and young people ever recorded. There are more than 1.6 billion of us, and we’re growing up in a fast-paced, dynamic and interconnected world.

In the ideal version of that world, we would all be sitting at home, doing our homework at night, and watching sitcoms on TV. I’m a 16-year-old in 2014 – I hang out, I take #selfies, I go to parties, and I like to have fun.

But somewhere there is a girl, just like me – who likes to hang out, and likes to have fun – only she is living with HIV. For her, and the millions of other teens living with this virus, simply living to see another birthday is a miracle.

I could have been that girl. My mother is HIV-positive, but I am HIV-free thanks to the steps she took when she was pregnant with me to make sure that I didn’t have to grow up living with the virus that has dominated her life. Not everyone is as fortunate.

Today (April 10) is National Youth HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and in the spirit of honesty, I’m starting a new trending topic. Let’s talk about HIV and AIDS. Let’s be honest with each other about how you can contract the virus.

Don’t know anything about HIV? Great! Learn about it.

I’m 16 and I have my whole life ahead of me.  I want to be there to live it on my terms and I can’t afford for something like HIV to hold me back. Neither can you.      

National Youth HIV and AIDS Awareness Day
Thursday, 10 April 2014 12:17

Young people across the country are hosting events to show how youth are uniquely impacted by HIV; the barriers they face in prevention, testing, and care; and how best to translate these experiences into real action for an AIDS-free generation. All you have to do is check out the National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Map to see the amazing power of youth activism.

Won’t you join them? Beyond the jump are 5 great ways you can participate in NYHAAD this year. And don’t forget to hop on our Huffington Post LIVE segment TONIGHT at 5:30 PM EST.

Thank you for joining us!

The Countdown to NYHAAD Has Begun!
Monday, 07 April 2014 12:57

by Sulava Gautam-Adhikary, Program Coordinator, Health and Social Equity  

The countdown to National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day has officially begun! Join thousands of youth activists and their allies across the nation who are planning events for the day.

To help kick-start your planning for April 10, check out the following toolkits:

  • The Online Campaign Starter Kit includes a wide range of materials including how to get involved in the official #NYHAAD photo campaign; how to create personal video messages; and how to engage on Facebook and on Twitter!
  • The Media Toolkit includes a press release, templates and tips on how to give an interview; and how to get your own local proclamation recognizing the day!

We’re so excited for you to join us in commemorating the second annual National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day on April 10, 2014! Don’t forget to register your event so we can showcase all the great things happening on the day.



Week of Artivism!
Monday, 31 March 2014 11:53

1 in 3: These Are Our Stories - paperback book now available!1in3-afy-flash

Art begins with resistance.” - André Gide

Art has great power. It can get your attention. It can make you think. It can even change your mind. That’s why art can be such a powerful tool for activists. Now we’re asking you to use that power to change the conversation around abortion.

Host a 1 in 3 Week of Artivism event to showcase people’s real stories of experiences with abortion.

During the week of April 21-27, activists around the country will host 1 in 3 Week of Artivism events to bring new audiences to the real stories about abortion experience which people have shared with the 1 in 3 Campaign. You can participate by reserving a space on your campus or community and setting up an interactive display of stories from the 1 in 3 Campaign.

We’ll send you a “display in a box.” You assemble, personalize, and set up the exhibit. You don’t have to be Picasso to participate - you just need a display space and some time to construct the display.

Rally at the Supreme Court
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 08:22

1 in 3: These Are Our Stories - paperback book now available!1in3-afy-flash

In the words of ROCK STAR youth activist Kirin Gupta, "“What is at stake today is an issue of sexism, classism, and oppression. It is the control exercised by money and power of a few who are twisting our country’s freedom of religion to deny basic freedoms to young, often already marginalized bodies. These choices are ours—not our schools, not our bosses, not anyone else’s.”

Today's Supreme Court hearing on contraception and religious liberty was a big deal and we could not be more proud of the response from our friends, allies, co-workers, partner orgs, and youth activists all around the country.  Our voices have been heard, and we are watching!  Check out video of Kirin's speech!

Visit #DearSCOTUS for a comprehensive look at all that went down today, but here are a few pics too!  

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