Racism has been embedded in nearly every key system and structure in America, including health. The day-to-day impact of racism on the health, autonomy and overall wellbeing of people of color is painfully evident in the statistics. The numbers clearly reflect human lives in our backyard that are neglected and susceptible to egregious health inequities.
The prevalence of these health disparities, that have existed far too long, led in part to the formation of WeCanStopSTDsLA in 2012. WeCanStopSTDsLA began because of the staggering burden of STDs among young people of color, a direct result of structural racism and inequity. As a leading community coalition, we are working to reduce the STD burden on LA County youth and young adults, particularly among the most vulnerable populations in South LA, East LA and Antelope Valley by striving to give young people the tools they need to be knowledgeable, healthy, advocates and leaders in their communities.
The STD burden is staggering: in 2018, the most recent year for which we have full data, there were nearly 100,000 cases of curable STDs in LA County, of which 42% were in young people ages 15-24. In South LA, African American women ages 15-24 had Gonorrhea rates that were 7.4 times higher and Chlamydia rates that were 3.3 times higher than 15-24 year old white women. For young African American men in South LA, the rates were 3.3 and 3.4 times higher compared to young white men ages 15-24 for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, respectively.2
Despite the potential risk of contracting coronavirus and the threat of violence, many young people have put their bodies and health on the line by publicly demanding the necessary need for change. We admire their determination of this generation to make our communities safer. As people and organizations that know the impact that racism has had on health outcomes such as STDs, we support their will to fight for equity and justice, assertively responding to the historical inequities and brutality that have been inflicted on black people since the time of enslavement.
We are proud to join the forces of change for racial justice as more than just allies, but as accomplices in the fight for health equity and the reduction of the burden that STDs inflict on communities of color. Moreover, through our partners, we will walk alongside young people as they navigate towards a more just and equitable world by providing necessary tools to help make these changes. These have been our core values from the beginning and we assertively reaffirm them now.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
Justice: Advocating for respect, dignity and fairness in systems, policies, and organizations’ treatment of youth and young adults.
Compassion: Compassion for youth and young adults, without shaming, judging, blaming, or finger pointing.
Prevention: Promoting self-efficacy and the importance of preventing STDs through responsible decision making and behaviors.
Treatment: Assuring up-to-date and youth-friendly approaches to treatment, removing barriers to access, and encouraging testing and treatment.
Open Communication: Factual information and knowledge provided with cultural humility between youth and each other, and among those in the community who can support the health and wellbeing of youth and young adults (parents and family members, health care providers, faith and community leaders and others).
WHAT WE STAND AGAINST
Bias: Bias against any person based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, beliefs, income, or faith.
High Rates: High rates of STDs among young women and men in South LA, East LA and Antelope Valley.
In the spirit of the time, looking forward in the fight against STDs, the Community Advisory Coalition, which oversees the activities of WeCanStopSTDsLA, envisions a world where young people can thrive without race/ethnicity driving their health outcomes.
 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Division of HIV and STD Programs, unpublished data
 Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 2017 data
WeCanStopSTDsLA is seeking candidates for two open positions to help strengthen its focus on young cis and trans women of color in LA County. This work is supported by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Community-Based Approaches to Reducing Sexually Transmitted Diseases grant. Please see links for job descriptions for Project Director and Project Coordinator respectively. The positions are set to be filled by the end of September, thus a swift response from applicants is encouraged.
It’s not too late to respond to the 2020 Census while being safe and practicing social distancing at home. Please help us spread the word about the 2020 Census, and encourage people to respond on their own if they haven’t yet done so:
- Post content on social media to show your commitment to responding to the 2020 Census. Take a look at the Resource Guide — with social media graphics, video scripts, example posts.
- Share and like posts from our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.
- Visit the 2020 Census Social Hub for customizable graphics to share your support for a complete and accurate count.
- Learn about the Get Out the Count Video Prize Challenge, deadline is May 7th
Los Angeles County Emergency Operations Center COVID-19 Update - April 28, 2020 with information on youth in custody
COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The following report is a high level summary of the L.A. County Emergency Operation Center's COVID-19 disaster response.
This incident update includes the number of confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 among Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department employees.
Please share this information with your family, fellow residents, municipal, state & community partners.
View the Incident Update.
As we all navigate this different and challenging time with COVID-19 and in accordance with social distancing practices to control its spread, WeCanStopSTDsLA will suspend in-person Community Advisory Coalition (CAC) and its working group meetings until it is safe to do so. We are looking forward to your continued participation to advance our shared work and will gather using remote access tools described below.
The Spring into Love Event Planning committee has also been closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) and takes the health and safety of everyone very seriously. Based on current information, guidelines, and recommendations provided by the national and local health authorities and closure of the LAUSD schools, Spring into Love 2020 is postponed until later in the year. The CAC’s Youth and Young Adult Working Group is currently exploring options to reschedule and will provide updates as they get more information and decisions are made.
Here’s a summary of the current changes and updates to all CAC gatherings until further notice:
What is being canceled/postponed?
- April CAC meeting has been canceled. A decision about the May and June meetings has not been made at this time.
- 2020 Spring into Love has been postponed. We will keep you apprised regarding when it will be rescheduled.
What is changing?
- Regular Working Groups will be held and conducted via conference calls. Meeting notices will continue to be sent to group members and will include call-in information. If you’d like to join a Working Group, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
The work goes on!
In the meantime, all CAC activities will continue remotely, focusing on items on our 2020 Action Plan, including the following efforts:
- Ongoing CAC capacity development through resource development and grant writing
- Formalizing membership relationships with partners
- Expanding outreach to the Antelope Valley and East LA
- Continuing development of the Interfaith STD toolkit
- Deepening work with key constituencies through CAC partners –e.g., African American and Latina girls and young women, young people who are MSMs or transgender, and others at elevated risk due to foster care, homelessness, incarceration or probation
- Outreach and planning strategies (possibly a Town Hall style meeting) to discuss the impact of STDs on young peoplewith candidates running for political office
Our wish for you is to be healthy, centered, resilient and hopeful during this uncertain time.
The Coachman Moore & Associates Inc. Backbone team
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, from 2017 to 2018 there were alarming increases in chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. This highlights the importance of continuing our work to stop STDs. Click here to view the report and learn more.