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How Youth Are Using Poetry To Change The Conversation About Diabetes

As a Youth Speaks poet, Erica uses poetry to articulate her daily stress and living condition, as it relates to poverty, leading her to self-destructing eating behaviors and a battle with obesity

Raised in the neighborhood of Fillmore in San Francisco, Erica McMath Sheppard comes from a large family in which the majority is battling diabetes. She is the living statistic of the type 2 diabetes epidemic affecting low-income communities of color. She comes straight from the so-called vulnerable communities that exist in neighborhoods labeled “food deserts” where exercising in public parks is not an option because the streets are prone to violence and crime.

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What Do Students Want Their Sex Education to Look Like?

We’ve been having sex since the beginning of time and we still haven’t managed to find a way to talk about it, especially to young people. It’s awkward, clumsy and uncomfortable (the language, not the sex).

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xm7rgm-_zIk

We’ve been having sex since the beginning of time and we still haven’t managed to find a way to talk about it, especially to young people. It’s awkward, clumsy and uncomfortable (the language, not the sex). But it doesn’t have to be, and not having the conversation is causing more harm than good. Young people are surrounded by sex and thoughts about sex in the media, in school hallways, in their pants... we still see the squirms, the red cheeks, the awkward giggles and uncomfortable silence. The reality is that young people are having sex or thinking about having sex and they aren’t getting the tools and information to navigate this part of their lives.

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While traveling through the shantytowns of Uganda as a photojournalist, I met Josephine. Next to makeshift homes of corrugated metal, she lived in a dark and cool room that she shared with her siblings. It consisted of a mat and a torn magazine page of Beyoncé in a backless shimmering diamond top.

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