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Advocate Spotlight: Meet Alba Alvarado

alba alvarado, advocate, spotlight
By , 15, Staff Writer Originally Published: January 3, 2017 Revised: January 3, 2017

Alba Alvarado is an 18-year-old first generation, first-year college student at Wesleyan University who grew up in San Rafael, California. An advocate for sexuality education, Alba saw firsthand how hard teen parenthood can be when her older brother and his girlfriend had a baby just before their high school graduation. Alba saw this happening in her primarily Latinx* community over and over again and wanted to do something to help.

“Because the topic of protective sex is mostly ignored, young men and women are left to figure it out by themselves,” says Alba. “This leads to many teens having children far before they are prepared emotionally and financially.”

Alba decided to take action and push for change. Over two to three years, Alba researched sex ed in her community and did presentations for the school board and community members. Finally, Alba’s proposal to make condoms available in her district’s high school bathrooms was approved. And with the help of the National Council of STD Directors and condom donations from Trojan, condom dispensers were put in one male and one female bathroom in each high school.

It’s very important that information and access be paired together for safe sex to actually happen.

Through her experiences, Alba developed a strong passion for sex education and women’s health rights. “I believe in the power of young women making direct change in their communities,” says Alba. Her dedication to educating teens about safer sex and birth control and building a way for people in low-income, immigrant communities to have access to birth control is why we are profiling her for Faces of Change.

Passion

“I have definitely found a passion for women’s health care access, particularly in low-income, underserved communities like my own. For centuries, the needs of young women and men of color have been ignored, especially in terms of health care access, and I am extremely committed to bettering the care and resources we receive so that opportunities are no longer taken from us.”

Inspiration

“Both of my parents immigrated to the U.S. when they were young, and despite many oppressive forces, they were able to raise my siblings and me in a loving and healthy home. I have learned to be ambitious, hard-working, kind, loving and so much more from them, and they are most definitely what keeps me going.”

Likes

“I really appreciate having a couple minutes a day to be alone. I love being able to sit and think about how my day went, all the positives or the negatives, what I want to do in the future or even just what I want for dinner. That moment, however long it may be, is mine to work with and enjoy, and I love it.”

Stranded on a Desert Island

“If I were stranded on an island, I would want to be with my sister because even silence is exciting with her. I know she would keep me sane because there is no doubt I would be panicking, and I’m sure she would know how to survive better than I would. As for a book, I would take This Bridge Called My Back. It contains essays and poetry written by radical women of color and is absolutely empowering. I would, of course bring my mom’s homemade pupusas to eat. They are my favorite food, hands down, and I know I could eat them every day.”

Show Her the Money

“What’s crazy is that $1 million sounds like a lot of money, but it can only get you so far, so I would use that money to continue bettering the sex education in my home community. I would use a portion of the money toward funding better classes so that students are able to have informative sex education courses where they can ask questions and actually take in information. Then I would use a part to buy more condom machines for schools in and near my district and to buy more quality condoms to be dispensed. It’s very important that information and access be paired together for safe sex to actually happen. With more money, I would instill this across schools in the U.S. so that everyone had equal access to information and to at least a basic, yet very efficient, form of birth control.”

*“Latinx” is the gender inclusive term for people of Latin descent.

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