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Young advocates at work

Members of the Annex Advisory Council have done some important advocacy work at the capitol this year! They attended AIDS Action Day in January, where they gave a speech and had a meeting with Representative Ryan Winkler to discuss comprehensive sexuality education, conversion therapy ban, HIV prevention & PrEP. In March, they participated in Outfront’s Youth Summit, where they had the opportunity to participate in breakout sessions and a rally raising awareness on the harm of conversion therapy. Here are some of their thoughts about their experiences!

What are the most important things you’ve done this year?

  • “Advocacy work at the capitol. You can’t have advocacy without diversity. The same voices can’t be the ones heard all the time. Different perspectives are so important on the issues. And legislators need to have an open mind- there’s no point talking to a brick wall!”
  • “Teaching others at health fairs- I love feeling that I can teach my peers something they need to know! People need to be educated about how their bodies work.”

What was your favorite thing about being at the capitol?

  • “I liked the atmosphere- it felt so right to be there! It’s the foundation of how things work in our state, and I feel like I should be able to pop in anytime and be like, ‘What are we working on today?’ I belong there. This affects me.”
  • “The tour guide was great! He wasn’t boring. He made it applicable to us, involved us, and made it really fun to be there.”

What do you want people to know about the work you’ve done?

  • “This all affects us now, and if it doesn’t, it will one day. Fresh minds want to do something about their communities. Diversity makes things better and brings different ideas to solve the problems that we are facing.”
  • “People need education! They need to be taught about sexual health before they’re sexually active so they can avoid potential risks and make smart decisions. Having groups like this that provide the space to learn is so important. People want accurate information, but they have to ask for it, which is difficult because we don’t know what we don’t know!”

What’s next for you?

  • “I want to find more opportunities in teaching sex ed- I want to become a nurse or at least be an advocate for this work. People need someone to talk to!”
  • “I love government, history, and learning more about my community. I think of myself as open-minded; I like to examine the other side of my beliefs. Maybe I’ll run for office one day!”

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