Growing up in Washington Heights, Elanie Paredes always felt like sex education was inaccessible to her. She realized there was a lot of shame surrounding sexual and reproductive health in her community. After graduating from high school, Elanie decided to work for Planned Parenthood of New York City to learn more about reproductive rights. Since then, she developed Ignited Voices, a 501(c)(3) organization that services young women of color living in Upper Manhattan neighborhoods. Ignited Voices aims to provide an avenue of self-expression through an online support system, group workshops, and trainings. Members learn about sex education and leadership development through a fem/mentorship fellowship.
Ignited Voices wants every young woman to feel confident and comfortable talking about sexuality — and to define what reproductive justice means to them. Through modules and trainings, it will empower, educate, and transform young women into powerful leaders in their communities. Fem/Mentors will
lead leadership development programs on public speaking and advocacy. Members will explore their identities and dig deep into the concept of self-discovery through meditative exercises, healing circles, and affirmations.