(Image: Activist Yvonne Fly Onakeme Etaghene)

Each year, health disparities run rampant in communities of color, policies are created to tell women and girls that the choices we make for our reproductive health and lives (from childbirth to abortion and even adoption) are best left up to policymakers and not between us and our healthcare provider, and young people are given inaccurate information about sexual and reproductive health and places them at a disadvantage in being able to take care of themselves.

We’ve been doing a lot of amazing activism around sexual and reproductive freedom. Let’s amplify that work in 2014 and get even more done for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for women and girls, and our families.

Activism isn’t regulated to just attending rallies and interrupting politicians. Activism occurs in many ways. Teachers, social workers, healthcare providers, nonprofit program directors, students, and parents and more advocate daily for the people they care about. Also, activism doesn’t always occur in the forefront. There are many of us who advocate for others behind the scenes. From blogging, to working one on one with a client in an agency setting, to structuring a program that speaks to the community your nonprofit works for, there are many ways to raise your voice.

How will you raise your voice for reproductive justice, in 2014? Here are a few ideas to get started: 

*Share your experiences with others about sexual and reproductive issues that mean a lot to you. This can range from abortion rights to birth control, breastfeeding, health literacy, violence prevention, and more. You can share one on one, or with groups of people.

*Use social media outlets to connect with other passionate people 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 sexual and reproductive justice topics for your school or community.

RAISE YOUR VOICE: Right now, think about what you would like to see happen to advance sexual and reproductive health in 2014. Then in the comments section below, share two things:

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

2. How do you want to do to bring awareness of sexual and reproductive justice to your friends, colleagues, and community? Feel free to use the suggestions above as well as here.

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