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I am Advocacy: Maiava Blackwell

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Maiava Blackwell values her work as an Ambassador because it allows her to stay informed on current sexual and reproductive health issues in South Carolina. With this information, she actively works for health care reform, which she says is much needed. Her determination is powerful and encouraging to advocates who may feel downtrodden at some points in their advocacy journey. She reminds them that the process is long and slow, but do not give up. It will be worth it in the end.

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I am Advocacy: Marnie Schwartz-Hanley

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Who else used to read the encyclopedia as a child? Wow are we glad that Ambassador Marnie Schwartz-Hanley did! All that information helped her to learn about the universe, our planet, and the biology of animals and humans, particularly sexual and reproductive health. Her friends used to come to her to ask questions they didn’t feel they could ask their parents. Now, as a mother of a 12 year old, she brings this conversation to other parents. She uses her position as an Ambassador to have this conversation in a more legitimate way. Hopefully, other parents will hear Marnie talk about Tell Them and realize they need to be talking to their children about sexual health.

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I am Advocacy: Kevin Johnson

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It takes a special person to respond to the needs of the community. Tell Them Ambassador Kevin Johnson saw a disparity in how certain people were infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in South Carolina, and now he is the Executive Director of the Wateree AIDS Task Force, which offers preventative services and educational activities to people living with HIV, including testing and counseling.  

 

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I am Advocacy: Debbie Billings

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Debbie Billings is one of Tell Them’s first Ambassadors. In this role, she has taken on a responsibility to integrate sexual and reproductive health issues into conversations. She wants everyone to know that, not only is it okay to talk about these issues, we actually need to. We need to figure out ways to talk about these issues by finding commonalities between advocates and the people they are speaking with. Sexual and reproductive health issues affect everyone, even the legislators. Through her work at Tell Them, Debbie can inform people of the everyday consequences of inadequate sex education or contraceptive access. 

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I am Advocacy: Beth Richardson

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When asked why she was interested in sexual and reproductive health issues, Ambassador Beth Richardson said, “Well, being a woman, it’s actually a very important aspect of my life.” She says these issues are complex and rarely talked about in the United States.  She was a Women’s Studies major at Duke University, trained as a rape and sexual assault Counselor at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, has testified before the South Carolina state legislative committee on laws touching on these issues, and now she sits on the Board of Directors for the New Morning Foundation, as well as serves as an Ambassador for Tell Them.

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I am Advocacy: Jan Collins

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Part of the reason life can be so fun is that we all have different talents and abilities to share with others. Ambassador Jan Collins has the gift of writing, and she uses her powers for good. She’s been a journalist and editor in Michigan, North Carolina, and South Carolina. One of her earliest stories was in Ann Arbor about a high-school program for pregnant teens in Ann Arbor. This article was her introduction to sexual and reproductive health issues, and she has continued to write about these topics ever since.

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