Character, not condoms

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Abstinence is the First Choice

By Queshonda Moore
WI Contributing Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2007


Kasey Davis, 12, and Bryan Buchanan, 27, have three things in common. Both are African American, youthful, and virgins.
  
Davis is a 7th grader at Stuart Hobson Middle School. His friends think he is crazy for not wanting to have sex, but peer pressure is not an issue for him. “It makes me want to be the leader,” he said. “I am not trying to follow anybody.”

 
Jonetta Rose Barras, columnist, author and WAMU-FM political analyst, host youth forum on: "Why Abstinence Matters." The forum, held at the Thurgood Marshall Center for Service and  Heritage in Northwest, was held to kick off Abstinence Awareness Week, March 10-16.

Buchanan stands and reminisces on the days he was standing in Davis’ shoes. He recalls that he did not have an answer to give to his friends because of his experience.
  
They shared their experience at a recent forum promoting abstinence.
  
“As I got older my friends saw that I was serious and I was able to communicate to them why,” Buchanan told the audience.
  
Last week was Abstinence Awareness Week, and the testimonies offered by Davis and Buchanan were just two of many. Messages about abstinence from sex before marriage were promoted by several community organizations, including Ultra Teen Choice, Concerned Black Men, and Amerigroup Community Care.
  
Richard Urban, co-founder of Ultra Teen Choice, believes that as an adult it is his duty to help youth make the best choices.
  
“If you wait to have sex, you can do better financially, be more focused, and avoid other risk behaviors such as, drug and alcohol abuse and dropping out [of school],” Urban said.
  
Tierra Glymph, a student at School without Walls, said she believes abstinence is better because intimate relationships are complicated. “Young people who indulge in sexual activities too early are often receptive to other problems such as drugs, alcohol, declining grades, and sexually transmitted diseases,” she said.

She also believes that young men and women who remain abstinent send a clear message that they want to be respected.
  
At Howard University, Carl Miller, is calling all students to make a stand by abstaining from sex for one semester. This is part of an effort by the Howard University School of Social Work to address the epidemic of HIV/AIDS in the African American community.
  
“We are trying to get to the root of our behavior,” Miller said. “We are going to use our bodies as a part of the solution and not part of the problem.”
  
D.C. Council member Harry Thomas Jr. (D-ward 5) told the audience that youth and adults should be more careful with their bodies.
  
“Your body is a vessel. This temple called your body must be a special place because it holds and controls your spirit,” Thomas said. “You have to honor it and make others respect it.”