SIECUS, along with Advocates for Youth (AFY) and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), hosted a conference in Washington, D.C. from December 13th to December 15th. State Summit 2006 brought over 25 state advocates together to share best practices and strategies for exposing the dangers of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and promoting comprehensive sexuality education at the state level.
Advocates from the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington State gathered for the intensive three day series of workshops, panel discussions, and strategizing sessions designed to be a space for those working on the state and local levels to compare notes and learn from each other.
Workshop topics included coalition building, working in conservative areas, and working with a Governor’s office to move it towards rejecting Title V funding. Several sessions were dedicated to addressing each other’s challenges and successes. In addition, SIECUS, AFY, and PPFA brought in colleagues from several national organizations to present information and strategies that are working at the federal and national level in an effort to connect our collective work on protecting and promoting comprehensive sexuality education for the nation’s young people. These colleagues discussed recent government reports related to sexuality education, litigation around the country related to sexuality education and minors’ access to reproductive health care services, and how the outcomes of the 2006 elections might affect our work at the national and state levels.
“Based on feedback from our state partners, we are thrilled that the State Summit achieved its goal of creating a space for advocates to learn from strategies that are working in other states,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at SIECUS. “Building bridges across state borders and among state and national partners moves our national strategy of getting comprehensive sexuality education funding to the states forward.”
SIECUS will continue to work with national colleagues to leverage the momentum built at the state summit and will continue to offer opportunities for state advocates to remain connected and work together as a national movement for comprehensive sexuality education.
State advocates interested in technical assistance from SIECUS should e-mail Jen Aulwes, State Policy Coordinator at email@example.com.
Helpful resources for state advocates can also be found at www.communityactionkit.org.