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Environmental Justice, Immigration Rights, and Reproductive Justice

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Environmental Justice, Immigration Rights, and Reproductive Justice

Youth groups are forming all across the nation. When communities work together with their youth to fight for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice more people will be reached. Youth groups bring different perspectives to topics and teens have different needs from the issues. Communities that are being targeted need volunteers including youth to get involved to help empower residents that are being affected.
One of the youth programs in Massachusetts provides opportunities for researchers and youth to work together. The youth program organizes an event called Southeast Asian Water Festival and this program helps teens organize a project-based program. The Southeast Asian festival provides teens with hands on projects on environmental justice issues and provides opportunities to develop and create their own environmental activities (Race, Poverty, and the environment 2005/2006).
The Youth Policy Institute is an organization in Pittsburgh that empowers communities to get involved. The youth group uses alternative approaches to get the information to a variety of communities. Environmental justice is a focus for the youth group. One year the group organized “Just Jam for Justice” which presented mixed CD’s with popular dance music to everyone that attended the festival. The inside lining of the CD had facts printed about diesel exhaust and the effects on local communities. The youth group used music as their way to get the information to other teens and empower them to get their families involved. Many brochures are thrown away without being read but the teens felt connecting with others with music would get other youth’s attention and inspire them to get involved. Tactics like this can work well and will inspire youth to empower their own families and communities if the issues presented personally affect their families (Race, Poverty, and the Environment 2005/2006).
Youth coalitions fight for what they believe in. The Immigrant Youth Justice League held a coming out week in March 2010 to get the word out there that people are not alone. The youth group encouraged undocumented workers to speak out and tell their life story. One reason the youth are encouraging people to do this is to show people that your neighbors, friends, co-workers, and many others are undocumented and to not pass judgment. They are trying to support their families and give them better lives. Many families are being separated as men and women are being deported. The family unit is not being deported, many individuals within a family are being deported and leaving the family members without financial security and other needs. Youth are holding rallies to empower others to come out and let people know they are undocumented workers.
According to the Immigrant Youth Justice League, one of their members told his story of how he was embarrassed when he discovered he was undocumented and leaned that he didn’t have the same opportunities available to him as his friends did. He was not able to get a driver’s license or study abroad. This is just one case that shows how youth are affected by parents that are undocumented but have been in the United States for many years. The stance of Immigrant Youth Justice League is representing youth in the demand of immigrant right through education, resource gathering, and youth mobilization (Immigrant Youth Justice League, 2010). Youth are helping get the information out on reproductive justice as well. Reproductive Justice gives women and girls rights to decide when they get pregnant, how to protect themselves from pregnancy, and the ability to make these decisions on their own not just based on what they have available to them. The concept of reproductive justice includes information on the plan B pill and the right for abortions. Parental consent is still needed for some of these rights which affects how youth make decisions about their own bodies. Human trafficking is another concern that teens are absorbing information about. Youth groups need to be informed so they can help fight for these causes.
As Dorothy Roberts eloquently stated, “Reproduction is not just a matter of individual choice. Reproductive health policy affects the status of entire groups. It reflects which people are valued in our society; who is deemed worthy to bear children and capable of making decisions for themselves. Reproductive decisions are made within a social context, including inequalities of wealth and power.” Youth groups have been fighting for comprehensive sexual education in schools. The abstinence only stance is not giving the students everything they should know and understand about sex. Abstinence maybe the best choice but if other choices are made the youth should know how to protect themselves and understand some of the risks and consequences of their choices. Youth groups are educating the public about propositions that are impacting their communities. Teens are writing laws; organizing you- run centers, and helping form curriculum for schools to include more information for our diverse communities. Youth are fighting for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice in many ways. Teens are more aware of their power and are using it to inform and utilize their connections with larger corporations to help control outcomes of their communities.

Works Cited
Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice. Sister Song. N.p., 2005. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <http://www.sistersong.net/‌documents/‌ACRJ_Reproductive_Justice_Paper.pdf>.
Immigrant Youth Justice League. “National Come out of the Shadows Day!” Immigrant Youth Justice League. N.p., 10 Mar. 2010. Web. 13 Nov. 2010. <http://www.iyjl.org/‌?p=368>.
The Movement Strategy Center. “Bringing it Together: Uniting Youth Organizing, Development and Services for Long-Term Sustainability.” Movement Strategy Center. N.p., 2005. Web. 11 Nov. 2010. <http://www.movementstrategy.org/‌resources>.
Reproductive Rights. “Best Practices for Youth Friendly Clinical Services.” Advocates for Youth. N.p., 2008. Web. 13 Nov. 2010. <http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/‌index.php/‌publications/‌1347.html?task=view>.
Tanweer, Anissa, and Youth Policy Institute students. “Pittsburgh Youth Promote Environmental Justice.” Race, Poverty, and the Environment (Winter 2005/‌2006): 59-61. PDF file.
- - -. “Pittsburgh Youth Promote Environmental Justice.” Race, Poverty, and the Environment (Winter 2005/‌2006): 59-61. PDF file.

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