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Proposal: Empowering Black Female Adolescents with Reproductive Health Knowledge for Social Change through the Art of Zine-making and Blogging

Monday, July 30, 2012 | Posted by Alex
Lilly Marcelin

Describe your idea.
This zine and blog project is an experiment to raise awareness and to educate a group of 10–12 black adolescent girls from the greater Boston area on reproductive health and associated diseases. These adolescents will be trained as peer educators over a 10 month period.

A great majority of black women, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status are disproportionately affected by diseases of the reproductive system such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and cervical and uterine cancers. These diseases used to be diagnosed in adult women in their late twenties or older; however, black girls as young as 15 are being diagnosed with uterine fibroids or with endometriosis as early as 12 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical research, 70–80% of all black women will have clinically recognized uterine fibroids. Another recent study stated that 23–40% of black girls 6–8 years old are experiencing early onset of puberty.

The goals of this project are to educate and to harness teens’ creativity through zine-making and social media. Zine-making sessions will consist of dialogue and training regarding black women’s reproductive health. In addition, teens will explore the intersections between health and social injustices through the lens of historical, racial, medical, and economic inequalities that contribute to the silence and secrets surrounding these diseases in their communities. Teens will also gain knowledge that will allow them to prioritize their own reproductive health at an earlier age. We believe that this project will provide a vantage point to engage teens in social and health issues that affect their genders and communities. In return, they will engage their peers through dissemination of zines and informative blogs.

How Will You Use Your Grant?

  • Buy materials for zine-making, marketing and publication
  • Provide healthy snacks to the teens
  • Purchase MBTA Charlie cards to cover partial costs of transportation to training session
Why and to whom is your project important?
This project will be important to female adolescent girls of African descent and their communities. This project targets teens with the least access to resources from disenfranchised communities.

What is the expected status of your project by the time of the next Feast?
Teens will publish and disseminate their zines, and will set up a blog that prioritizes the leadership and voices of teens. This project is intended to be ongoing; we will continue to raise money to ensure its long term sustainability through local and national grant makers that support reproductive health programs for adolescent girls.

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