What actions are you taking to promote and protect the health and rights of women and young people worldwide?
I work at a reproductive health referral, counseling, and education nonprofit organization. I counsel callers on three different hotlines: a reproductive health referrals and counseling services line, a state HIV/AIDS fact line, and a maternal and child health line. On a daily basis I talk to lower-income women who are seeking basic health services, such as prenatal care, routine reproductive health exams, abortion care, HIV and STI testing and treatment, and applying for medical assistance insurance. I offer my callers referrals to different health care organizations, provide emotional support in times of crisis, and advocate for them when a particular organization isn’t performing the requested services. In addition to operating these hotlines, I’m in training to teach basic sex education programs at Philadelphia-area schools with the goal of empowering children and teens to take a proactive role in their sexual health and experiences.
What is your vision of lasting change for yourself and for the world's young people?
Lasting change means equal access to affordable, compassionate, quality reproductive health care and education for young people. Too often young people are not given the resources and information they need to access the care and education about their own health that they deserve. Lasting change means comprehensive sex education and it means a commitment from reproductive health educators and school districts to connect students to comprehensive resources.
If you could tell world leaders one thing, what would it be?
Young people’s voices and experiences matter. We must be included in global conversations about reproductive health and justice to make sure that our needs are being met. This not only means open dialogue, but funding our projects and empowering us to take the lead on issues that matter.