The Future: NARAL & Beyond

With this post I end my summer journey at NARAL and I want to start by thanking those who worked along-side me on all the AHCCP and TORCH projects. I want to thank the interns from Columbia University for helping me learn my new skills and for always giving me constructive feedback when needed; Hannah, Emily, Lindsay, Amanda, and Lily. I also want to thank my mentors Faye and Pauline and for the great work they do and how supportive and flexible they were granted my work school did not allow me to participate as much, but thanks to them I excelled in many of projects. Pauline was gone towards the end of the internship, but she was very pleased with my work and I was happy to have her as a supervisor. Faye was also very exciting to work with and I want to thank her for letting me work with her teens – I had the best time with them. I want to thank Nicole and David for being awesome supporters of the interns and for making orientation and every day after a breeze.

The above people have been instrumental in my learning at NARAL and I am extremely happy with my experience and have really valuable skills to take back with me as I further my career. Currently, I am set to graduate from the Public Health program at Hunter this fall semester and am hoping to my post-baccalaureate at NYU in the summer of 2013. For the first two years of my husband’s active duty in the military I plan to stay in NY as I pursue my second degree, however, medical school will most likely be military school based where ever he is stationed. I want to pursue my career in clinical medicine as I initially planned when attending Long Island University for Athletic Training/Sports Medicine. However, I do want to specialize in international medicine with a strong focus on public health intervention and clinical practice overseas and abroad. Much of my work will focus around access to immunizations and HIV prevention and treatment in children and adolescents. I want to continue working in the public health sector even I am practicing as a medical provider.

My dream was to become a physician – I am finally chasing that dream…


Reaction Blog: The Book of Choices

NARAL Pro-Choice New York has various set of projects that they are currently working on and TORCH has been of the more active projects that have continued to make a great impact. NARAL continues to produce projects and activities surrounding reproductive health rights. The Book of Choices is an initiative that provides accurate information for teens that are facing unplanned pregnancies. The book provides information on:

  • Where to get an abortion
  • what you need to know before getting an abortion
  • resources for women choosing to continue their pregnancy.
  • provides information on preventing pregnancy, including different contraceptive methods.

Source: NARAL

This book serves as a resource and an outlet to accessing correct information that easy to read and understand. Teens can access this book online or they can make their way up to 33rd street and park ave and ask for an actual book. All the information is updated frequently and is reviewed to assure that the information is accurate. The Book of Choices is a great resource and many community-based organizations use this as means of referring their patients or teens to needed services that are not offered through their own programs. I believe this is a great tool that can be empowering, informative, and inspiring.

Professional Skills at NARAL- Learning From the TORCH Teens

Interning at NARAL has been quite an experience and having the opportunity to continue to work with teens is even better. The TORCH Peer Educators are a wonderful and versatile group on young individuals. Aside from the daily work at NARAL, they are a unique group of teens that love life, teaching, and being young. I have extensive background in youth development and youth education, but working with the TORCH teens have allowed me to acquire a new, and useful set of professional skills.

Learning to be open-minded and honest are skills that not every employer looks for in a resume or  an interview. However, these are skills that are required when working with youth and this is what I learned from working with TORCH for the last 4 weeks. When topics about sexual and reproductive health and medical care come up, teens have a lot to say. It can be easily interpreted that teens are rambunctious and blurt certain things out that are either confusing or just plain crazy. However, teens do have the right to speak their minds nevertheless, tell you how they want they want to be treated by their doctors. Being open-minded and allowing new ideas to circulate in your understanding of the teens nature is critical in working with them. Unknowingly, we judge and criticize teens for being this aggressive, but it is who they are. What we can do as adults, is simply be aware and have open-minds when working with teens. Without passing judgment, we as adults, should always support the ideas and thoughts of teens. Now, these thoughts must be positive thoughts and ideas that foster positive youth development – not ideas or thought that promote the opposite. This is away that teens can relate to you – even as an adult- you have the ability to become one with them, while still allowing mutual respect between the teacher and the student.

Learning to be honest and open with teens, is a very useful tool. It can allow you to be honest and open with other individuals you might be working with. When teens are given the chance to change, and by that I mean their behavior and decisions, teens are self-promoting and creating a brighter future for themselves. However, this can not be possible, if youth providers do not have open-minds and open-hearts to also learn from teens, but teach them as well.

Degradation of Women Through the Illustration of Music

Source: Lil’ Wayne with a bed full of women in his video “Bed Rock.”

Throughout history women have been portrayed as sexual objects of reprisal in various media outlets;a advertisments, movies, consumer products, and music. In the last 10 years the role of women in the music industry has vastly changed; this includes the way women are portray and idolize by the male counterparts of the industry. Females are continually viewed as adamant sex objects and are subjective to sexual idolizations. Not only through the obvious imagery of music videos with women in bikinis and high heel stilettos, but today’s also through the subliminal and conscious messages in the lyrics of songs. There are many genres that so lovingly characterize women as bearer of children, lovers and trustful friends. But there are others, that contextualize women as hoes, bitches, gold diggers, and one-night stands.

This new movement and wave of music has caused a retreat in the feminist movement that has taken years to overcome. This not only creates a barrier in the fight for gender equality, but it also creates a impediment doom for those who have already established gender neutrality.

According to an article in the Washington Post, women are continually used as sex objects because today’s music industry is solely dominated by men and men ultimately use women to sell their music. The article also goes on to say that if we do not purchase or listen to music that is degrading to women, the industry will no longer produce it. But how long will this take to happen? And are feminists the only group of females that should address this issue? In a larger context, is this issue unavoidable? Or is this form of main stream media open for change?

Source: Musica Beta- Daddy Yankee in his new music video “Llegamos a La Disco.'” This video portrays women as sexual objects subjected to the dominant ways of a male society.

Realizing that women have come along way in their fight for equality is just one small piece of the puzzle. Advocating for radical change in the music industry is another key, but not just picket signs, and Facebook pages. Creating change requires a strategic collaboration of plans to educate consumers, policy makers, and artists alike. We cannot sit back and let the music industry promote our breast and big booties as the only qualities and assets we women have.


Youtube: This new song “Trouble” by Bei Maejor ft J. Cole portrays a women in “sexy” clothes as someone who wants someone to have sex with them. Women are often portrayed like this, and are viewed as “asking for it”.

Bronx Teens Connection Launches New Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

New research has found that teen pregnancy is at its lowest in more than 10 years. However, teen pregnancy still continues to be a public health issue in that the United States has the highest rates of teen pregnancy in comparison to other industrialized countries. Here in the South Bronx, there have been many local collaboratives that have been established to help address the issue of teen pregnancy in the community. Most recently a strategically combined initiative of various community-based organizations, “The Bronx Teen Connection” has been established a coalition to collectively address the issue of teen pregnancy on a larger, community-wide intervention.

Pregnancy rates for 15-to19-year-olds in the South Bronx decreased from 153.4 per 1,000 females in 2002 to 118.3 per 1,000 females in 2009, a decline of 23%, more than the overall city decline of 11% (Teen Pregnancy in New York City: 2000-2009. New York, NY: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 2011).
Source: The New York City Department of Health

The Bronx Teen Connection works primarily in the communities of the South Bronx; Hunts Point, Morrisonia, Longwood, and the South Bronx. Agencies that participate in this collective initiative include, Planned Parenthood, Children’s Aids Society, Urban Health Plan, Inc. & School-Based Health Centers, and Community Health Care Network among other grantees.

This program is also funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in collaboration with the federal Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health (OASH) Office of Adolescent Health, as part of the President’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative (NYCDOH,  2012). 

This month the coalition launched a new ad campaign to prevent teen pregnancy as part of their 5-year grant deliverables. The new ads encourage teens in the South Bronx to use both condoms and contraception together to help reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies and HIV/AIDS transmission. From theses ads teens can see that using both these methods can provide optimal sexual health in that the chances of an unplanned pregnancy occurring is becomes greatly slim when both forms are used.

New Ad Campaign by the New York City Department of Health in conjunction with the Bronx Teen Connection at a bus stop on Southern Blvd.

An article was also releases in the Metro newspaper on the new ad campaigns highlighting the intentions of these ads and providing a framework for the new initiative and what the collaborative aims at providing. Metro writes, “The campaign is part of the city’s efforts to ensure that all teens have the information, skills and resources to make healthy decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.”

Even though these ads provide teen-friendly messages about safe sex practices, some might still be in objection to this new initiative. Many say that these ads promote sexual promiscuity and actually increase the onset of sexual activity. According to a blog post by Michael Benjamin, these ads are “further sexualizing our youth and encouraging sexual promiscuity among Hispanic and Blacks.” Not only are these ads promoting sexual activity, he also claims that these ads are “misinforming teens” by saying that “…condoms and birth control together  will prevent HIV, other STDs and pregnancy. Birth control does not prevent HIV/STD transmission.”

Once again, as he also states in his blog, we have opposition from people who do not know what is to be a teen living in the South Bronx. Sorry to burst your bubble of critiscm here Mr. Benjamin, but teens are having sex whether we promote it or not. The reality is, teenagers are experimental creatures and sex cannot be put into the same categories as drug or alcohol addiction because it is apart of life. Sex is an intimate act of expression and what should be most concerning is that teens are educated, aware, full of knowledge, and can make healthy decisions on their own.

It is obvious, even to a teen, that birth control does not in fact prevent the transmission of STD/HIV. However, this ad does not blatantly say that birth control prevents transmission. Birth control is used as a back-up method when condoms fail to provide pregnancy prevention.

As an educator, I work with teens 40hours a week in the South Bronx. I know what it is to live an unplanned teen pregnancy, abortion, and the confusion of choosing the right birth control. I would have benefitted from information like this if they had existed years ago. These teens need more education, support, youth development, and creativity to stir positive development in their lives. They do not need conservative creeps such as yourself constructing barriers of uninformed and misguided politics.

I support this movement and those similar to this that are yet to come…


Social Media & Women- An Opportunistic Movement


Society’s view of  a traditional female role has changed much since the radical feminist movements of the late 1960’s early 1970’s; however, the increasing wave of technology have given women a more opportunistic venture than that presented during those historic times in women’s history. Is it true that social media has created the female gender into opportunistic freaks? Have women dominated the social media realm of communication over the male counterparts? Is this phenomenon true? Or is this another tactic in today’s feministic movements? In reality, let’s simplify the answer and say that women are just much more intelligent in communicating and using social media in a creative, unique, and empowering way.

Women are now using social media for business, education, and networking opportunities. Women have advanced substantially with the newest wave of technology and have adapted greatly to the new means of communication for the 21st century. According to Jessica Faye Carter, an award-winning author and columnist, that of the estimated 87 million women online, around 67.5 million are engaged with social media. And women are now the majority of users on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Faye-Carter writes in a blog post on maskable saying, “For women, social media presents abundant opportunities to lead, effect change, innovate, and build relationships across sectors, locally, nationally, and globally.”

It is extremely beneficial, as women, to take advantage of this opportunity and use it to not only promote business, increase business related opportunities, or networking, but to educate, enlighten, and raise awareness about issues that affect women as a whole. In general, social media is an extremely useful tool in promotion and networking both inter ally and externally for personal and community gain. Remember that in doing so, as a women, you must portray your own ubiquitous voice and create change on a larger scale. Social media is an outlet of ideas, allow this new world to take you beyond what you knew you had the capabilities to do. Press on, or should I say click on sisters social media is ours!

To read  more on Social Media and Women read on wordpress!

Innocent fun? Or Deliberate Defimiation?

I came across this photo clicking through a seemingly funny array of pictures of dogs saying funny things. I’ll admit, these photos were pretty funny, however, I came across this one photo that seemed to stand out.

This photo seemed to catch my attention, not for its humor, but for it’s underlying meaning. To the close-minded, it might seem funny, maybe even get a bit of giggles out of you. But what seems to be the problem, is the joke it’s self.

Is this how woman’s rights are portrayed now a days? Is our fight for equality a joke to others? Or is it simply an issue that is just not that important that a dog and a grasshopper must find humorous? In attempt to justify this picture, I came across one possible concept; people are just so damn ignorant!

And I am not disturb because of the example of the joke; race, class, sexual orientation, or gender identity could have been a target of this ridiculous satire.

I hope this image stirs a conversation, as well enlighten those who still think that woman’s rights issues are yesterdays news.

~Something to think about…