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C2EA Youth Organizing Leadership at YAI and Beyond

C2EA Youth Organizing Leadership at YAI and Beyond

With a little over two months before the the 2010 Youth Action Institute begins on the campus of Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana, the Campaign To End AIDS (C2EA) Youth present a plan of action and advocacy during the C2EA 5 Year Anniversary in Washington DC. About two dozen youth work group participants representing different regions of the country brainstormed, discussed and help to redefined the purpose of the C2EA Youth Workgroup, its intended impact moving forward, and the group’s next steps – including activities and strategies that follow youth advocacy priorities. What was produced was a strategic plan that not only further supported the effectiveness of the C2EA Youth, but also created tangible alliances and collaborations with C2EA’s other working groups; Issues & Actions, Outreach & Organizing, Media, Spiritual Communities Outreach (SCOUT), Media, LGBTQQI, Transgender, 50+, and Women.

Educating other youth with real stories and debunking stigma are among the purposes stated by the participants. Also, to use the C2EA Youth Group to help empower the decision-making skills among HIV positive and negative young people and to build bridges between affected and infected communities to the information and answers needed to make informed advocacy strategies. The participants see the group an outlet to individuals and groups that are stigmatized and marginalized and to provide and ear or shoulder for support. Finally, the purpose of the C2EA Youth Group is to develop and support advocacy networks across the country and round the world in an effort to illustrate the ‘changing face’ of the HIV & AIDS epidemic and to highlight the contributing factors that fuel the epidemic among young people.

Advocacy Priorities
The main advocacy priorities brought up in the work group meeting included appropriate and better articulated education targeted to young people and affecting city, state, and federal policies. It was agreed that creating an inclusive and supportive advocacy network defined, developed, and supported by young people will assist in developing present day and future HIV & AIDS advocacy and activist leaders. This group, as well as all other C2EA Work Groups stress the importance of active and inclusive participation in advocacy development and implementation and making it a priority.

Over the next few weeks and months, the C2EA Youth Group intend on creating an impact that is felt far and wide. The list includes outreach that encourages more national and international involvement, creating and developing networks on college and university campuses, and making connections with non HIV & AIDS communities and celebrities that broaden the advocacy message. Stay tuned for cultural and community events that integrate HIV & AIDS, stigma, homophobia, poverty, etc. into its messaging – all with the goal of creating more active conversations that discuss strategies to end the epidemic.

YAI 2010
This year’s Youth Action Institute is June 27 – July 2 in Shreveport and participants are looking to do advocacy projects that focus on challenges and barriers for people living with HIV & AIDS in Louisiana and the south. For more information about YAI 2010, please contact Evion Thomas at or Anthony Roberts at You can also call toll free, 1877-ENDAIDS (363-2437).

Posted on April 26, 2010 at 10:18 pm