By Deb Levine, Executive Director and Founder, ISIS
My ISIS challenge to you, for the next year, is to mash it up.
What’s a mashup you say?
"A musical genre that involves cutting and pasting samples and loops from two or more popular tracks to form a new track, often forming a surprisingly catchy new tune." - Wikipedia
And here’s the key: The more different the genres of the source tunes, the more effective the mashup.
Here are 5 ways you can mash it up with youth and sexual and reproductive justice in the digital age:
# 1 Mashup: The Personal and The Professional
I keep hearing my colleagues talk about how they keep their work lives separate from their personal lives -- both online and offline.
In this digital world without boundaries, we have to merge. Not all information, all the time – that would be TMI. But in order to get sexual and reproductive health out of its silo, we have to integrate our work into our personal lives and the personal into our work.
On that note, I finally got puberty education into my kids’ urban public school last year. Last week, marked the second year of the curriculum. In addition to my daughter’s revelation that s-ee-m-e-n isn’t pronounced semen, I received full support from parents, administrators and teachers, who have become used to seeing Internet Sexuality Information Services in my sig file on parent-teacher emails.
Take a few moments to consider how you represent yourself online and off - Do you keep your personal and professional networks separate? We challenge you to integrate sexual health into all aspects of your lives.
#2 Mashup: HIV and Violence against Women Prevention
Many of you don’t know that I began my career as a rape crisis counselor, and then moved into training first responders around domestic violence. I worked at the largest agency serving crime victims in NYC. Yes, I had a career pre-Go Ask Alice.
This year, when ISIS and a team of collaborators won the White House HHS Apps Against Abuse challenge with Circle of 6, I wondered if I was backtracking to my former life.
Then, just last week: President Obama issued a presidential memorandum establishing an inter-agency working group on the intersection of HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and gender-related health disparities.
This mashup challenge – if you work in HIV prevention, meet someone from sexual assault or dating violence prevention, and vice versa.
Mashup #3: Adults + Youth
In the 2.0 digital space, we’re all experts. Wisdom doesn’t always equal experience. Everyone’s voice matters, everyone’s voice counts, and without the cross-generational openness, no one will be heard.
ISIS is putting together a YouthTech Council, so that young leaders who are digital natives will be driving our technology projects and engaging their networks in this critical work.
Mashup #4: Reproductive Justice and Rights with Economic Justice, Environmental Justice and Health Disparities
ISIS is working with millennial philanthropists to understand their thinking about the social issues of reproductive health, choice, and contraceptive access. We have talked with many young women, in their 20s and 30s with successful careers who are engaged givers. They all tell a similar story - reproductive health issues are personal, not political. This is not a social cause they can get behind. Tell us instead about women living in poverty, women in environmental hazard zones, and then, they will use their mobile banking services to give generously.
Challenge: Think about reproductive health and access in cross context with other social issues such as economic and environmental justice. Think about re-framing our advocacy work to involve younger women who don’t consider themselves activists or feminists in this important work, but who do care about the issues personally.
Mashup #5: Content and Technology
We still don’t have the tech folks in the room in significant numbers. Tech folks talk about the tech, with the content as user driven and irrelevant to the engineering. Tech privacy folks talk about location-based services, but do not apply it to, say a woman being beaten by her partner who is trying to find a shelter, or a young person who is trying to locate free condoms. I am sure that everyone in the room knows an IT guy or gal, an engineer or a social media guru. Tell them about Sex::Tech and what you learned, and how valuable their input would be next year.
In summary, if we mash it up and collaborate, we are sure to find better outcomes in all our work, integrate sexual and reproductive health and rights into popular social causes, and create groundbreaking tech projects that have potential to change the world.