Remembering Barbara Huberman
by Advocates for Youth President Deb Hauser
It is with deep sadness that we mourn the death of a true visionary in youth sexual health and rights. Barbara Huberman, Advocates’ Director of Education and Outreach, passed away on Saturday, May 17th, after a brave battle against leukemia.
Barbara had a tremendous influence on our collective work here at Advocates, giving us the Rights.Respect.Responsibility Campaign, the European Study Tour, the National Support Center for State Teen Pregnancy Prevention Organizations, the State Organization Leadership Roundtable, Let’s Talk Month, the Parents’ Sex Ed Center, and National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, to name just a few.
Prior to coming to Advocates, Barb founded and served for ten years as executive director of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Council of North Carolina. Slow to speak and quick to smile, Barb was wise, pragmatic and provocative. She taught us all the importance of vision. And she showed us all the power of one.
Barb loved her interns, her friends and her sex-education-themed tools, art, and toys. She loved her family and she loved her work. She believed in all of us so deeply.
We will miss her terribly.
NATIONAL TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION MONTH
May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (NTPPM), an opportunity for parents, schools, policymakers, organizations, and young people across the country to promote and support effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives.
NTPPM began in 1995, when Barbara Huberman, Director of Education and Outreach at Advocates for Youth, recognized a need for inclusive, coordinated action to reduce unintended teen pregnancy nationwide.
All young people have the right to sexual health information and services that can help them reach the future they envision. Advocates works in communities and with federal and state policy makers to ensure that these rights are respected.
During May, we’re asking for your help in asking Members of Congress to support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act, a bill that lays out a comprehensive and inclusive vision for sex education in the United States. Contact your Members of Congress today to ask them to support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act.
Advocates for Youth works with the Office of Adolescent Health in 10 communities in 9 states to reduce the rate of teen pregnancy. A key component driving this initiative forward in the communities is the Youth Leadership Teams (YLTs). Each YLT is a leadership team of young community mobilizers who have become recognized as leaders by their peers and their community because of their extensive sexuality information, and their direct involvement, and voice in the design, implementation and evaluation of TPP initiatives. Learn more about Advocates’ work in communities across the United States.
Teens need youth-friendly services and complete, accurate information about abstinence, condoms, and contraception in order to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy. But they also need to be able to envision a positive future for themselves: one in which education, employment, and healthy relationships are possible. Learn more about teen pregnancy in the United States.
CALLING ALL ALUMNI
Were you once a member of an Advocates for Youth program; a staff member; or an intern with Advocates for Youth? We want to hear from you! Will you please take a moment to fill out this survey? Your input will help us plan for the future. And don’t forget to share the survey with your contacts!
NATIONAL TEACHER PREPARATION STANDARDS RELEASED
The Future of Sex Education Initiative, a coalition of organizations including Advocates for Youth which works to ensure quality sex education for every student in America, released the National Teacher Preparation Standards.
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. America’s teachers play a vital role in providing young people with the information they need to protect their health and futures. However, only 61 percent of colleges and universities require sexuality education courses for health education certification and nearly one third of teachers responsible for sexuality education report receiving no pre-service or in-service training in this area. The National Teacher Preparation Standards will better prepare undergraduate physical- and health education students to provide high-quality comprehensive sexuality education that is developmentally, culturally, and age appropriate.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FAMU
In March, after years of hard work from activists including Advocates for Youth Campus Organizer Ana, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) became the first Historically Black College/University (HBCU) to institute a non-discrimination policy that includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. Says Ana: “As a student at FAMU as well being a part of our school’s LGBT Pride Student Union, I felt a great sense of pride. Our community has worked hard for this human right issue to gain critical attention. I hope other HBCUs follow in a glorious chain reaction, so that future students will not feel marginalized for being who they are at their school of choice and won’t be held back from attending such extraordinary institutions.”
Federal Policy Updates
There are two bills currently introduced in Congress, the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act and the Repealing Ineffective and Incomplete Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act, that together would promote federally-funded sex education programs and remove funding for harmful abstinence only until marriage programs.
Young people have the right to lead healthy lives. Providing them with honest, age appropriate comprehensive sexual health education is a key part in helping them take personal responsibility for their health and well-being. Providing young people with the skills and tools to make healthy decisions about sex and relationships is far more effective than denying them information and simply telling them not to have sex. Young people need sex education policies that respect their autonomy and includes all of the necessary information, not programs that deny important and relevant information.
Abstinence only until marriage programs do not serve the needs of young people, and often contain and perpetrate stigmatizing, shaming, and stereotyping messages. Comprehensive sexual health education programs include medically accurate, age-appropriate information about healthy sexual growth and development; healthy relationships; prevention of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections through abstinence and contraception; gender, gender identity and sexual orientation; and is inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth.
Make sure that your elected Members of Congress know that you support the Real Education for Healthy Youth Act and encourage them to show their support of providing young people with the education, tools, and skills to make healthy and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.
After three years of community mobilization and advocacy efforts, the School Board of Broward County unanimously passed one of the most comprehensive sexual health education policies in the nation!
And young people were at the center of those efforts. The Broward County Youth Council (BCYC), a project of Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood of South Florida, has worked hard in their community – including testifying before the school board about how important it is for young people to have access to the resources and education they need to make healthy decisions about their lives.
Starting next school year, all sexual health education in Broward Schools will be medically accurate, age-appropriate, and be taught to students on an annual basis. Finally, young people in Broward will receive the sexual health education they deserve. We couldn’t be happier for BCYC and all the students in Broward County.
U.S. Foreign Policy
In April, countries gathered at the 47th United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) in New York to discuss progress in rights-based development and set goals for post-2015. Advocates’ International Policy Analyst Amanda Kiefer wrote about the conference and experiences there.
“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.” Read more…
The kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls in Nigeria has led to worldwide outcry about the safety of young people in Nigeria. As the international community mourns this tragedy and works for the safe return of the girls, Advocates welcomes one new policy in Nigeria that will protect young people: the HIV and AIDS Anti-Stigma and Discrimination Bill. If this bill is signed into law, it will become illegal for banks to fire a person living with HIV or for universities to conduct HIV testing as part of routine medical examination for incoming students (often used as a basis for denying HIV positive youth entry into university). Learn more about the bill and youth activists’ work to get it passed.
Working toward confidential abortion care for young people
In April, Advocates for Youth along with Choice USA and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, convened a group of 40 reproductive justice, rights and health advocates, representing 28 organizations from around the country for an all-day meeting in Washington, D.C. The goal of the meeting was to begin to develop messaging and collaboration to push back on parental consent and notification requirements for abortion care. Throughout the day, participants reviewed current public opinion research and messaging on parental involvement in abortion care, discussed ways to adapt current messages to different organizations and efforts, identified areas in need of further investigation, reviewed current communications campaigns, and discussed ways state and national organizations can move forward together to raise awareness of the issue and the harm caused. A main outcome of the meeting was agreement on the need to look beyond short term messaging and work together to develop messages that will shift the conversation and create lasting change in how the public views young people’s need for confidential abortion care.
RECENT PUBLICATIONS FROM ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH
Young people deserve confidential access to a full range of sexual and reproductive health care services. Although the new health care law expands and improves coverage, youth may decline accessing the care they need because insurance claims and billing practices threaten to disclose private medical information to their parents. Policymakers should respond by securing strong, comprehensive confidentiality protections for young people insured as dependents.
CDC and OPA released the first set of comprehensive, evidence based or evidence informed recommendations for providing family planning and preventive health services for males. The recommendations are intended for all primary care providers, not just Title X family planning clinics.