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Meet Marcella Morales-Lugo

Faces of Change Marcella
By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: May 6, 2016 Revised: June 16, 2016

Marcella Morales-Lugo is a 17-year-old who goes to public high school in New York City. A few years ago, Marcella started to see that not having a comprehensive sexuality education class meant her peers did not get information from reliable sources or have the resources to make healthy choices regarding sexual health. Instead of ignoring the situation, she took action.

Marcella began a dialogue with her school’s administration about incorporating comprehensive sexuality education classes into her school’s curriculum. She became an unofficial peer educator for many of her friends and joined Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Leadership Council, where she advocates for young people to have access to reproductive health services and accurate sexual health information. This year, at least partially due to Marcella’s efforts and dedication, her school will be implementing a comprehensive sex ed curriculum for grades 6 to 12.

People in my community and in disenfranchised communities often get information regarding sex from unreliable sources

Marcella believes that all high schoolers need to surround themselves with people they can go to for support and be educated on how to make healthy decisions. Marcella’s ability to encourage other teens and her passion to campaign for what she believes in is why I chose to profile her for Faces of Change.

Passion

“I’m most passionate about making comprehensive sex ed accessible across the nation and the world. Growing up in the Bronx as a Puerto Rican young woman, I see realities I cannot overlook. People in my community and in disenfranchised communities often get information regarding sex from unreliable sources. As a society, we should make it a priority for young people to have age-appropriate, comprehensive sex ed in schools and other settings which could provide them with the information they need to make healthy decisions for themselves.”

Inspiration

“My mother is the person who inspires me the most. She’s someone in my life who demonstrated how hard work pays off…. She was able to persevere through hardships and make a successful life for herself. I’m so glad she introduced me to sexual health and rights at a young age because being able to have a healthy, open relationship with my mom made it easier to have the ‘conversation’ around sex. Having that early introduction into reproductive justice by my mother really sparked the growing passion I have for the issue.”

Likes

“I like a lot of things but one thing I love is getting a massage! I’ve been on a massage streak for
about two months now where I get a massage every week. It’s been two of the best months ever!”

Dislikes

“One thing I do not like is war. Growing up I was always taught to try and resolve a problem civilly and without violence. I still carry that moral today and believe that peace is the key to progress in the world.”

Dream Dinner

“If I could have dinner with anyone in the world, it would be First Lady Michelle Obama. I admire how passionate she is about the well-being of youth in America, and I would love to share my experiences with her as a young person in today’s society. Also, if I had dinner with the First Lady and became friends with her, I would be able to hang out with Sasha and Malia!”

Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr?

“I love using Tumblr because it’s such a judgment-free zone! I’m a very artsy person so social media platforms such as Tumblr and Instagram, which use photos to convey messages, are always my favorite to use…. Social media is such an important tool for my generation to be able to share opinions and get exposure to the injustices that are happening in the world. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is a great example of how youth in today’s society can use social media to create a change in the world.”

Show Her the Money

“If I had $1 million to change sex ed, I would start off by ensuring that all schools have comprehensive sex ed classes! Teachers teaching the curriculum would be trained and dedicated to teaching reproductive health. I would also update the curriculum to make all sex ed classes age appropriate and fun to learn! There is a big stigma behind the conversation around sex, and I hope that bringing the conversation to the classroom will normalize it.”

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