Portrait of an Activist: Eliminating the Disparities

I haven’t always called myself an activist; I felt that was a title you earned, not one you could adopt at your own free will. I was proclaiming to the world that I stood for something and wanted the entire world to know why they should stand for it, too. This was scary, to say the least.

 At 19 years old, I began a transition in my life as I started to figure out what my passions were and how I could relate them to my studies at UMBC. In one semester, I switched my major, picked up a minor, and joined two amazing programs that helped me develop as an advocate. My heart lies within working for comprehensive sexual health education and reproductive justice. I do not have a story that pulls on one’s heartstrings. I was blessed with the opportunity to be taught quality health education, despite being an African-American woman. Young black women often do not get that sort of preventative medicine, as I like to call it. I grew up watching a healthy relationship between my parents. I had access to birth control at 16, preventing me from ever becoming a teenage mother. I learned how to ask for what I wanted in a relationship, whether it was sexual or romantic, and I was never shamed for any of that. Meanwhile, young women around me became plague with STIs and babies before we even turned 20. The gap between us was so clear, and yet so hard to close. So, my life’s work is now dedicated to eliminating the disparities between the sexual health educations that women of color get in comparison to other groups. Knowledge is power, and everyone should be empowered to take charge of their reproductive and sexual health. 

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