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We’re in the second week of 2013, and during the first days of every year we evaluate what took place last year, and develop resolutions or goals for things we want to get, where we want to be, and experiences we want have. In doing this, we focus mostly on ourselves and how we want some aspect of our lives to change for the better.

And that’s totally great! But how are you raising your voice in 2013?

2012 was one of the worst (if not the worst) years in women’s health. While major wins such as the United States Supreme Court ruling the Affordable Care Act as constitutional and the birth control mandate beginning in August were exciting, 2012 had the second-highest number of abortion restrictions ever made at the state-level. Not only that, health disparities also continue to run rampant in low-income communities and communities of color, and the politicizing of women’s bodies shows no signs of slowing down.

While fighting for women and girls (especially women and girls of color) to have access to the services that can improve their health and lives can oftentimes feel discouraging, we shouldn’t feel undaunted. Let’s make 2013 the year where huge strides are made in sexual and reproductive health. Not only when it comes to reproductive justice, but for women and girls’ mental, spiritual, and emotional wellness.

How do you want to raise your voice for women and girls’ health in 2013? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

* Conduct an informational workshop on emergency contraception on your college campus using Back Up Your Birth Control materials.

*Watch documentaries such as Let’s Talk About Sex and The Education of Shelby Knox to generate discussion with your children on comprehensive sex education in schools.

*Increase your knowledge of what’s happening in sexual and reproductive health.

*Blog about your experiences with activism, abortion, birth control, discrimination, and many other topics.

* Use social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to connect with like-minded individuals who care about advancing sexual and reproductive rights for women and girls of color.

* Participate in legislative lobby days with your elected officials to share your personal experiences with supporting women and girls’ reproductive health, and to ask for them to support legislation that helps women and girls.

* Write an opinion-editorial or a campaign letter on a current event nationally or locally that relates to reproductive justice, and send it to your local elected officials.

*Volunteer with local organizations that work with girls in under-served communities to become a mentor to young girls in order to foster leadership and to expose young girls to different career paths.

*Create an affirming space for women and girls of color in your community or on your campus that’s designed to uplift and support.

* Develop a program or workshop on a topic that your target audience will be interested in participating in.

Raise Your Voice: Think about what you would like to see happen to advance sexual and reproductive health for women and girls 2013. Then in the comments section below, share two things:

1. What aspects of sexual and reproductive health most interest you?

2. What do you want to do to bring awareness of sexual and reproductive rights to your community, and how we can help you? Feel free to use the suggestions above as well as here.

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