I mentioned that this Monday I was the Keynote speaker at the Get The Facts NY Youth Leadership Conference. There were over 250 young people from all over New York state demanding comprehensive sexuality education in Albany. To say that this experience was amazing is an understatement.
To be around so many young people dedicated to the field I am committed to, who want to create change, who are demanding their human rights be respected and upheld is a level of rejuvenation that is really difficult to explain/express. I didn't have a mentor of Color who could help me with some of the many challenges and hurtles I experienced entering the field, and it is something I am very dedicated to. We need MORE sexuality educators who are of a diverse background, experience, and location.
One of the highlights was meeting so many youth and fabulous people in the field. After I spoke there were several young people of Color, young Puerto Ricans, young women, young men of Color on their way to college that wanted to ask me questions and talk with me about my career and activism paths. Many of them said "it was so cool to hear you speak" because they identified with some part of who I am: daughter of immigrants, bilingual, LatiNegra, Puerto Rican, went to higher ed, a woman of Color, living in NYS, and the list goes on. Youth DO need to see people who affirm their identity in this work!
So far I've had 3 young people contact me after the conference. One called me and we spoke for an hour and I mentored him as he started a blog. When it's up I'll share the link. Two others have connected with me on social media. You can also see what folks tweeted about the conference using the hashtag: #gtfny10
Here's one of the first videos that was created. You'll see me all giddy, because it was really an amazing high to be in that space, and sounding all "valley girlish" as I like to say. You also hear from the youth and they share their experiences and what they learned from the conference. There was also additional footage from other media outlets that you can see here.
I'll post some of my comments from my keynote shortly!