BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The first week of April is National Public Health Week, so we met with one local group that's taking sexual health education and turning it into a party.
“Being able to talk about sexual health and feeling comfortable talking about your sexuality, talking about your relationships, talking about your choices, that’s our main goal," said Rayna Moncrieff, Co-Founder, Girl Gang Entertainment, LLC.
Along with Co-Founder Yanava Hawkins, the pair originally started the company as an event planning business, but made a change in 2018 when they saw a need in the Buffalo's communities of color.
"We actually took time to talk to the community and see, why don’t they get tested? They say ‘we don’t trust people, we don’t know where to go, we don’t get tested, that’s not what we do," said Hawkins.
So they created Pop N' Play, a party for 18 to 24-year-olds to have a safe and fun space to talk about sex. For Girl Gang, it’s important to target the younger group.
"Let’s just meet them where they are. If we need to make a Tik Tok about how to use a condom then let’s do it!" said Hawkins.
Pop n play is now virtual, they host talks monthly on every third Thursday.
And earlier this year, they launched a new program is called "It’s the Choices For Me". They want to recruit 700 young women from Buffalo, ages 14-19 to watch an interactive video about sexual health and reward them for it.
Offering prizes like iPads, Macbook Airs and Amazon gift cards.
"There’s no reason why girls shouldn’t be rewarded for taking time to educate themselves on their sexual health," said Hawkins.
"I can’t honestly think of any organizations or groups that are doing the work girl gang is doing," said Richie Wills, who partners with them on events.
Wills says Girl Gang serves as a bridge between straight and LBGTQIA communities.
"It’s really nice to see both communities come together and have these conversations, learn something, just be exposed to different cultures," said Wills.
For Girl Gang, it’s about inclusivity and teaching young people things they say they wished they'd known at a younger age.
"A lot of times they’re like ‘I would’ve never gotten tested because of this event, or I never even knew I had access to get tested because I don’t have insurance,'” said Hawkins.
Hawkins and Moncrieff say the reason their events target young women —specifically young women of color is because that’s where there’s the most need.
According to the CDC, Black people are:
- 2-3 times more likely to die during pregnancy
- 5 times more likely to get chlaymdia than white people
- 7 times more likely to get gonorrhea than white people
But Hawkins and Moncrieff stress that their events are for everyone and anyone can benefit from learning about sexual health with them.
To enter their giveaway, click here.