by Carjamin Scott on July 11, 2018, at 4:57 p.m. CST
Briana Perry is the State Co-Director for Healthy and Free Tennessee. A highly educated women’s rights activist, Perry earned a Bachelor of Arts, in Sociology with Honors and a Master of Education in Learning Diversity and Urban Studies from Vanderbilt University.
Her education has prepared her to lead. She has an interest in the well being of Black mothers, ending gender disparity, educating communities in need of sexual and reproductive justice, and partnering with college students.
A native of Memphis, she is making a name for herself as a social justice reformer and inclusive strategist in West Tennessee.
Her career started as a graduate student employee, educating the Vanderbilt community about gender equity and racial justice issues, while working for the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center at Vanderbilt .
Perry is member of the 2018 New Leaders Council Nashville Chapter, she was a recipient of the Outstanding Professional Promise for M.Ed. in Service to Diverse Populations Award from the Department of Teaching and Learning at Peabody College, and a 2017 Nominee for 120 Under Forty.
Perry believes that colleges should lead in educating students and the community about healthy sexual relationships.
Perry mentioned, “not all states, such as TN, provide adequate sex education (medically accurate and evidence-based) in K-12 schools that is comprehensive and includes consent and healthy relationships.”
This is why Healthy and Free Tennessee is necessary to raise awareness and promote sexual health and reproductive justice.
“Students then enter college lacking this vital information and therefore are not adequately equipped to make informed decisions about their bodies,” said Perry.
Comprehensive sexual education includes one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being and providing resources and education around sexual health can lead to healthier and happier students; when students have access to this information, they can make decisions that are best for them and their lives.
Perry further explained, “this presents a gap that colleges should fill in, as sexual health is part of the overall well-being of students. Comprehensive sexual education includes one’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being and providing resources and education around sexual health can lead to healthier and happier students; when students have access to this information, they can make decisions that are best for them and their lives.”
To partner with college students and enable them to educate their peers on their sexual and reproductive health, HFTN has created the Youth Leadership Council.
Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council Paid Internship
Healthy and Free Tennessee has a paid intern partnership opportunity for college students between the ages of 18-24 to serve a one year term on the council and be a key partner of HFTN’s ongoing organizing, advocacy, and culture change work across the state.
The goals of Healthy and Free Tennessee’s Youth Leadership Council are to:
Mobilize young people to end the culture of shame and stigma that people are made to feel about sexual and reproductive health issues that intersect with abortion access including sex education, HIV decriminalization, pregnancy and birthing options, LGBT identity and work toward building a culture of empathy and support
Create a space where young people feel comfortable coming forward and sharing their experiences with abortion access and other reproductive health issues, which can include pregnancy and parenting, sex education HIV status, LGBT identity, in their communities and on campuses
Increase public awareness and support of abortion access, pregnancy and parenting options, sex education, HIV, LGBT identity as well as other sexual and reproductive health issues
Educate the media on issues related to sexual and reproductive health
Advocate for policies that promote access to reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy on a local and national level, which can include abortion access, sex education, pregnancy and parenting options, HIV Decriminalization, and LGBT equality
Healthy and Free Tennessee Youth Leadership Council members must demonstrate the interest, capacity, and resources to organize strategic, meaningful campaign actions on their college campuses or within their communities.
Applicants interested in becoming a member of Healthy and Free TN’s Youth Leadership Council must:
Commit to a year (Fall 2018-Summer 2019) of leadership on the council
Be familiar with the principles of organizing or willing to learn and further develop organizing skills
Be willing to use and strengthen communication skills. This includes speaking to groups, the media, and community members; additionally, writing, blogging and utilizing social media
Be available for monthly group check-ins and bi-weekly individual check-ins
Be able to coordinate events on campus and in the greater community about abortion access and other reproductive health issues
Have a strong framework and analysis of power, privilege, and oppression and the willingness to further understand the intersections of reproductive rights and sexual health
Healthy and Free Tennessee Mission
The mission of Healthy and Free Tennessee is to provide access, “for Tennesseans to truly determine our own reproductive and sexual lives on our terms, we need full access to local, affordable, safe, timely, and affirming healthcare and providers. We need comprehensive education about sex, sexuality, and reproduction. We need universal health insurance that covers the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare needs. We need social and cultural spaces that affirm our choices rather than shame and stigmatize them,” as mentioned on the HFT website.
We need comprehensive education about sex, sexuality, and reproduction. We need universal health insurance that covers the full range of reproductive and sexual healthcare needs. We need social and cultural spaces that affirm our choices rather than shame and stigmatize them.
If you’re interested in working with the council or want to help support the youth council in any way please contact Briana Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Carjamin Scott can be reached at email@example.com and you can follow her on twitter @scottcarjie.