24 March 2008

Grantee Spotlight: Comprehensive Sex Ed Victory in California

One of our trailblazing Sexuality Education Advocacy Initiative grantees, the California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ), has just won a big statewide victory. As The Mercury News reports, "After nearly two years of debate and numerous drafts, California's State Board of Education quietly adopted its first-ever set of 'health education content standards' this week." California passed a law requiring comprehensive sex education in 2003, but the Board of Education had yet to issue curriculum guidelines that would guarantee its implementation throughout the state. Now, thanks to the efforts of CLRJ and other advocacy organizations, age-appropriate, medically-accurate, comprehensive sexuality education will more surely reach California's more than 6 million students.

CLRJ's recent achievement comes on the heels of another important win last fall, when California Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Sexual Health Education Accountability Act. The bill, co-sponsored by CLRJ, requires that state funds for community-based sex education are spent on "medically accurate, unbiased, culturally and linguistically appropriate" programs and that they're directed to communities that need them most. The law went into effect on January 1, 2008.

CLRJ is a statewide policy organization that advocates for comprehensive sexuality education as a means to guarantee reproductive justice for Latinas throughout California. As they see it, young Latinas are particularly in need of stronger policy: the birth rate among Latina adolescents in California is three times higher than that of white teens; nationally, the AIDS case rate among Latinas is nearly six times higher than the rate among white women.

For more information on CLRJ's policy priorities and curriculum recommendations, see their policy brief on comprehensive sexual education.

We're sure CLRJ's victory will bolster the efforts of other sexuality education advocacy groups nationwide, and inspire an increasingly successful national movement--supported by the Ms. Foundation--to standardize comprehensive sex education in every state. We shine the spotlight on them this week for their powerful policy win, their fantastic approach to movement building--one of our own core values--and their broader commitment to guaranteeing reproductive justice for Latinas, their families and their communities. Congratulations CLRJ!

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