April 2022 Power Player
At Power to Decide, we’re committed to uplifting the many individuals on the ground doing the work that matters most. Each month we highlight an individual who is championing the effort to support young people’s reproductive well-being. Check out this month's Power Player profile
Justine Ang Fonte, M.Ed, MPH (she/they)
Sex Educator, Speaker, Consultant at JAF Kalusugan, LLC
What work have you done to ensure that all people have the information and access they need to make decisions that align with their intentions and improve their reproductive well-being?
I have been teaching comprehensive and intersectional sexuality and reproduction education for more than a decade in K-12 schools. My lessons empower young people to exercise body agency by learning how to listen to their bodies so they can take care of their bodies. My sex-positive teaching philosophy centers on making safety, affirmation, and joy a reality for their intimate lives.
How did you get started in your field? What is your driving force?
My first year of teaching was in the abstinence-only state of Texas. In my 8th grade class in Houston, I walked into a classroom population repeating 8th grade which consisted of students who were already parents, pregnant in the year they were with me, and one student who never came to school on the weeks she was on her period because she thought she was sick. My driving force has been to empower young people with knowledge about how their bodies work and to make decisions about their body that align with their health and well-being.
What advice would you give to someone looking to effect change in the field that you currently work in?
Be open to the probability that you, yourself will change as a result of being in this incredible field. Celebrate the small victories and be patient with what progress looks like . Bring your identities into the space and let your audience really know you. It will help you heal, and it will show them what celebration of oneself looks like.
Why should someone care about ensuring that all people—regardless of who they are or where they live—have the information and access they need to live their best life?
Health is a human right, and we shouldn't be complacent when those rights aren't afforded to all due to systemic barriers that favor a powerful minority. The world is a safer place when people are affirmed in their authentic selves and experience joy. We must do our part to get there.
Loving yourself should not be a radical act but it is in a world that normalizes prioritizing other people's comforts over our own. This is why many struggle to set boundaries. I am doing my part to dismantle that norm as Your Friendly Ghostwriter on Instagram by designing templates for the text messages you avoid sending. Protect your peace and assert your boundaries!