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The California Wellness Foundation Launches Sexual Health Toolkit for Black Women

Created through the foundation’s campaign, Upspoken, RoyalTea is a unique toolkit that provides life-saving sexual health information to Black women

LOS ANGELES – Black women throughout California are being invited to "sip some tea" (share the latest news), via an innovative public awareness campaign and toolkit that combines sexual health tips, empowering messages and an interactive tour of one’s body. The Upspoken campaign and RoyalTea toolkit is funded by The California Wellness Foundation and developed in partnership with Rally, a communications firm.

“Good sex isn’t good enough. Black women deserve to have the tools and the support they need to engage in healthy sex,” said Judy Belk, Cal Wellness CEO and President. “At Cal Wellness, we’re proud to be a partner in creating this beautiful toolkit that speaks to Black women in language that respects their experience and perspectives.”

RoyalTea uses culturally relevant, visually engaging messages and illustrations to educate Black women about relationships, sexual health, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections. The toolkit includes self-care exercises, an interactive diagram to help women more fully understand their bodies, and scripts for them to engage in difficult, yet important conversations with their sexual partners and doctors. RoyalTea can be found here.

The name RoyalTea combines culturally relevant terms – royal because Black women have an inherent regalness and tea because that word is often used to describe sharing the latest news and information with one another.

Black Women Are Lacking Lifesaving Sexual Health and Prevention Information

Black women are dying prematurely from inadequate access to the resources and information they need and deserve to live long and healthy lives. In 2016, nationally, 4,560 Black women were diagnosed with HIV, compared to 1,450 white women. There is critical sexual health information that Black women need in order to thrive and have healthy, pleasurable sex lives.

Using Culturally Relevant Content to Connect with Black Women

“It’s very timely and exciting to see we have a sexual health guide that is customized to speak to Black women across generations. Prior to now, we have never really had a public space to acquire accurate sexual health information,” said Dr. Megan Ebor, RoyalTea’s sexual health content adviser. “Finally, we have a resource that is for us and by us.”

The Upspoken public awareness campaign centers Black culture, taps the energy of current social and political circumstances and encourages Black women to cultivate their voices and their power. In the coming weeks, Upspoken will use its online community to promote RoyalTea, foster conversations about the importance of talking about sex and STIs without stigma and shame and encourage women to speak up for their needs and their sexual health.

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ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA WELLNESS FOUNDATION:

The California Wellness Foundation’s mission is to protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California by increasing access to health care, quality education, good jobs, healthy environments and safe neighborhoods. Since its founding in 1992, Cal Wellness has awarded more than $1 billion in charitable contributions and more than 9,200 grants. For more information about The California Wellness Foundation visit: https://www.calwellness.org/

ABOUT THE UPSPOKEN CAMPAIGN:

Through a grant from the California Wellness Foundation, RALLY created Upspoken, a communications campaign to raise awareness about the importance of being informed and proactive when it comes to HIV, AIDS and STIs among Black women in California. The Upspoken platform uses culture to tap into the energy of the current social and political moment, encouraging Black women to embrace using their voices and power to put themselves first. The campaign drives Black women to consider an empowered way of thinking about sex and taking care of their sexual health and wellbeing. For more information visit: https://upspokenwomen.com/.

Questions? Contact Sande Smith, Director of Communications at (415) 908-3009 or ssmith(at)calwellness.org.

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