- Category: Urban Life News
YOUTH Awakening Abstinence Revolution Kicks Off
By Richard Urban
Servants Without Borders and ULTRA Teen Choice kicked off the YOUth Awakening Abstinence Revolution campaign last week at Washington Family Church National Cathedral in northwest Washington, DC. The kick off event featured a panel of five youth speaking out on the importance of sexual abstinence, as well as several speakers and entertainment.
Servants Without Borders founder and program emcee Lynura Jones pointed out that African Americans are disproportionately affected by HIV infection, accounting for 55% of all HIV infections reported among persons aged 13 to 24. Ms Jones reported that earlier this year she thought:
“God, what is my purpose, how can I make a difference in the world?.... I’m 25 years old and I’ve been abstinent all my life, and I praise God for keeping me, because that is my testimony. I said, Lord, What do you want me to do? He said, this time, Let’s start an abstinence revolution, because that is what the word has taught us, to be abstinent until marriage. We’re to save ourselves. And I was like, wow God, if that’s the case we would end pregnancy, we would end HIV coming from safe sex and then we would abstain from drugs, abstain from things that cause us to harm ourselves, because our body is our temple.” … “The Christian community, if no one else needs to stand up, because we have been quiet for way too long”.
Diane Sims Moore, executive director of Families First DC (formerly the DC Healthy Marriage and Relationship Coalition), pointed out that “It is clear that young people are getting mixed messages. They hear messages in programs or in schools like be abstinent or use condoms, pick one; quite a choice. We need a different message, we need to talk about; be abstinent and delay sexual activity as a means to eliminating the risk to getting infections from sexually transmitted disease. “
Program speaker Kristi Love founded STAAND (Students against Aids and for the Abolition of National Denial) while a graduate student at Howard University. She said “We come together in hope and belief that abstinence is one of the ways that we can stop HIV and AIDS”… If we say that sex is one of the main ways that HIV is transmitted, what can we do to stop it? What can one person do to stop the spread of AIDS. One person can say ‘I will get tested for HIV’, one parent can tell their children, ‘you are worth the wait’, one child, one teenager can believe and say ‘I am worth the wait’, another can say and believe ‘I am abstinence working’. One young adult can talk with their significant other and say ‘I am waiting till marriage to have sex’, one virgin can remain abstinent until marriage, one person who is no longer a virgin, like myself, can choose to become abstinent and say no to sex. …. “A person who really loves and likes you has your best interest in mind. I believe that when you have an open and honest discussion about waiting until marriage they will respect you and your decision to wait.”
ULTRA Teen Choice co-founder Richard Urban collaborated with Ms Jones to create the program. Mr. Urban shared “What if every child growing up in the Washington, DC area, and beyond, had the goal of staying abstinent, with clear expectations, abstinence centered education, and adults and older peers to guide them in accountability relationships, starting in elementary and middle school?”
A highlight of the program was the youth panel. Nykee Hider shared how he became committed to abstinence when he decided to take God seriously. About 13 years ago he wrote down the qualities that he desired in his future wife and offered them to God in prayer. He happily reported that on December 6 he was married to the woman of his dreams who fulfills all of those qualities.
Angela Minto, a Howard University senior, shared how she wants to be an example for young women. Capria Curtis Walker, who is a 14 year old member of the ULTRA Teen choice program and a peer counselor, shared that “if you start at a young age and work our way up and be an example for our peers that it will show them the right thing to do by staying abstinent; that’s the only 100 per cent way to stay away from AIDS and drugs and alcohol.”
The YOUth Awakening abstinence revolution seeks to reach at least 25,000 people who will donate at least one dollar by December 19, 2009. Ms Jones said that “I believe that I can make the difference, that I can make the change, … that we can join together and give one dollar” She explained that just as the HIV virus has spread from person to person to become an epidemic, this campaign to make a difference and give one dollar can rapidly spread. Ms Jones invited other churches to hold YOUTH awakening abstinence Revolution programs at their location.