By Emily Kronenberger
Emily is one of AIDemocracy’s 2010-2011 Issue Analysts. Find out more about Emily below or take a look at the  Student Issue Analysts.

Young people currently hold the key to redefining sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States, as well as around the globe, because we have the innate and practical power to lead by progressive and positive example. Through simple but critical gestures of acceptance, compassion, advocacy, and empathy, young people have continued to demonstrate that sexism, racism, misogyny, oppression, and discrimination are vestiges of a social past that is constantly being challenged by the sexual health and rights-advances of the present.

This is evident in our youth activism around issues of LGBTQI civil and human rights, including same-sex marriage, equal access to partner benefits, adoption rights, and anti-hate violence policies that recognize and address harassment and violence against LGBTQI persons. In addition,  our commitment to preserving reproductive rights by speaking and acting against limited access to sexual health education, services, and options shows that we are united in our opposition to the systematic oppression of women, men, children, and families.

Combating bigotry and hatred of sexual minorities and the repression of reproductive health and rights has always and continues to be a youth issue. Addressing these issues is not only vital to our identity formation as emerging adults with courage and conscience, but also as an imperative while these issues play out in in real time within our own lives, relationships, and families. Our roles in defining these issues must be clear: here and now, we must be the arbiters of bravery in continuing to challenge the political forces that perpetuate cultures of discrimination and heterosexism, and the teachers of moral imagination who can bring the truth about reproductive freedom and self-determination into a lasting  global discourse and policy framework.

Emily Kronenberger is currently a public health advocate and researcher specializing in addressing healthcare disparities among under-served populations, including women with disabilities and LGBTQI-identified people. Emily has worked and volunteered for various health advocacy organizations, including Youth Noise, MomsRising, and the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities (ABCD). She is the founder of New Wave Grrrl, an information and resource-sharing blog for women with a focus on health disparities that impact women with disabilities, women of color, and the LGBTQI community. Emily is passionate about improving reproductive health outcomes, advocating for sexual health and rights, and interested in how feminism and other progressive political movements can be used to overcome barriers to healthcare. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Marymount Manhattan College, a Master of Urban Affairs degree from Hunter College, and a Master of Public Health degree from West Chester University.