PERSONAL BACKGROUND AND STATEMENT
My name is Wendy Nunez, I am 18 years old, and I grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts. I am Puerto Rican, and by the looks of it, most of the teens dropping out of school or getting pregnant at young ages are indeed Hispanic; many of my family members got pregnant at a young age. My mother got pregnant with my brother at 18 and she struggled very hard to go to school, come home have dinner ready, and go to work. I also realized that STDs are also a problem. Do people not know about them, do they not understand what they are, and what they do? When I realized I had so many questions on this topic I started to question myself. “Are people not educated enough on sexual education (Sex Ed)?” Writing this paper will give me the opportunity to convince people that if they are sexually active, they need to get tested as often as possible. They should go on line and research STDs or talk to a doctor about them, after reading this essay I would like people to seek knowledge.
Hispanics are the group that is constantly dropping out school, and or getting pregnant at young ages. Being Puerto Rican, I see these things all the time. All my aunts and my mother have had kids between the ages of 14-18, as well as a few of my friends. Hispanics are constantly being given bad names; that’s why I feel so strongly about preventing teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs. “I refuse to be another teen statistic”.
In other words, I refuse for people to place me in a category of infected teens or number of Hispanics in Boston with a child under the age of 18. I strongly believe that youth in Boston should feel the same way. I would like to give a shout to all the Hispanics that were put in some type of statistic.
When asked, “what is the story in Boston today from the youth perspective?” I answered that the true story of Boston in my perspective is this: from the minute you are born depending on your ethnic background, you are placed in a certain category. If you are white, you are accepted by society, however if you are a minority (hispanic, black, Cape Verdian, or other) you have to work harder to get accepted by society. Economic factors determine where in Boston people end up. Most of the time we end up in the poorest neighborhood, bad school systems, and don’t have enough opportunities as other people in other neighborhoods. Growing up under those conditions starts many young people off on bad foot to begin with.
So most of these teens end up pregnant, get into drugs, get a STD, or struggle to make ends meet. The fortunate ones, the ones that have a family behind them helping them out every step of the way, end up in college, and get a degree. This is a story that has many different perspectives; there are the perspectives of the youth, adults, and those in the government. The one perspective that never gets heard however, is the youth perspective.
In my humanities class, we worked into on an oral history project last term. This project consisted of various interviews with many different people. I was in a group of three and my group focused on sexual education as the form of education that youth in Boston lack. Teen pregnancy, STDs, and ways to protect themselves all tie into this topic. I, as an individual, focused on STDs. I interviewed a young girl named
Angela Wright, and two young men, Kameel Lashley and CJ Wire. The young girl I interviewed had gonorrhea and the other two interviewees had strong opinions on my topic. Doing these interviews taught me a lot about STDs as well as what people go through when they have a STD. The truth of the interviews is that youth in Boston aren’t educated enough on STDs as well as sexual education as a whole. Through the interviews, I realized that youth in Boston know about condoms, birth control, and abstinence, but they just don’t choose to take care of themselves; responsibility plays a big role in their decisions. When they are in love, they are so blinded by their feelings that they may not remember to consider the important things that may or may not save their lives.
The girl’s experience was a lesson for youth; she said to make sure you protect yourselves and make sure you get checked whenever you can. This was important because youth in Boston don’t see the importance in getting tested for STDs; they don’t understand that they won’t know that they have something until it’s too late. This girl is a dear friend of mine and for some time, she was going through so much with her family and friends when she got gonorrhea. She ran from her problem to her male friend that she thought she could trust, but in reality he was a no good pig. That’s another reason why I strongly believe that parents shouldn’t give up on their kids; if you love them you should be able to stand by them no matter what.
The other interviews I conducted were with youth that weren’t educated enough but thought they knew everything about my topic. One of my interviewees Kameel Lashley, a junior at Boston Community Leadership Academy, thought you could get Aids by “Kissing someone’s blood” that did have Aids. The other, CJ Wire, a junior at East Boston High School, believed that Aids was different from an STD, until he read the back of a condom. It is important that all these voices and opinions are heard because you can only make a difference if you know how people are getting affected by it and what they are going through.
Doing this project was very helpful because talking to these people got me thinking and now I know that youth in Boston are starting to have sex as young as 12 years old. As a result, there should be sexual education classes in middle schools as well as in high schools. It’s necessary that youth hear about these things sooner than later to prevent them from doing things that they might REGRET.