Thank you for your support. HOTGIRLS is no longer operating. This website is an archive and celebration of our work.

Young Women’s Leadership Council

 Founding member of the HOTGIRLS Girls’ Leadership Council:
Evesha, Maria, Bianca Sherida, Katie, Sakeissa, Jasmine, Mandisa, Tanisha, Sharmyne, Quanteshia (Teen Representative), and Alethia (Teen Representative)

Press Release
Background: Health Disparities & HIV/AIDS in Black Women and Girls
Program Rationale
Program Overview

Although the Young Women’s Leadership Council is no longer operating, this page provides a brief overview of the program.

Background: Health Disparities & HIV/AIDS in Black Women and Girls

Today, women of African descent are disproportionately impacted by health disparities, including HIV/AIDS. AIDS is the #1 cause of death for black women ages 25-34 in the United States;1 and half of all new infections in this country occur in young people under age 25.2 HIV and AIDS disproportionately affect black women—especially young black women and adolescent girls residing in the Southern region of the United States.3-5 Moreover, black women comprise the majority of AIDS cases among women in Atlanta;6 and 85% of reported AIDS cases from 1983-2001 among black heterosexual youth ages 13-19 years old in Georgia occurred among black girls.7 In addition, rates of HIV/AIDS are increasing at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the southeastern United States.8 HIV prevention initiatives have failed to significantly reduce racial/ethnic health disparities in HIV transmission among black women and girls.

Click here for more information about the impact of HIV/AIDS on black women in Atlanta, GA.

Click here for more information about Young African American Women and HIV.

Click here for the press release about our program launch.

Program Rationale

YWLC Founding Executive Board:
Front Row
: Kristina, Ashanda, Idia (HOTGIRLS representative, Young Women of Color Leadership Council – Advocates for Youth), Diana (HOTGIRLS representative, Youth Activist Network Campus Organizing Team – Advocates for Youth )
Back Row: Daphne, Salimah, Ashley
Not pictured: Dawn, Ashanda, Program Coordinator (2008 Alumna, Brittany

As black young women and girls continue to be unequally burdened by racial/ethnic health disparities, programmatic responses are needed to help improve our health outcomes. It is critical that young women take action to increase awareness about health disparities in our communities. Since our inception in 2001, HOTGIRLS has been committed to designing and implementing innovative initiatives to educate women and youth about HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and related health issues. By working with college students, we believe that we can strengthen our efforts to improve the health and lives of young women and girls.

Program Overview

YWLC Group Picture

We are pleased to announce that HOTGIRLS established a Young Women’s Leadership Council funded by Advocates for Youth’s Young Women of Color Initiative in January 2007. The HOTGIRLS Council is a peer health education and mentoring program for female students (freshmen, sophomores, and juniors) enrolled at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. By training female college students in women’s and girls’ health, peer leadership, and youth organizing, we hope to cultivate future leaders who are dedicated to taking action to create social change for women and girls of color.

  • The program includes an intense two-day training conducted in partnership with Advocates for Youth.
  • For the remainder of the program, participants gain leadership experience by planning, implementing, and evaluating culturally relevant programming for college students and young women and girls residing in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
  • Participants also partner with teen girls participating in HOTGIRLS programs to organize an annual girls’ summit and develop health education materials designed to reach young women and girls in the Atlanta metropolitan area and via the Web.
  • Participants mentor HOTGIRLS Youth Advisors and serve as moderators and peer educators on the web site for teen girls.
  • The YWLC advises HOTGIRLS on our health education initiatives for young women and girls.
  • One Council member (Idia) was selected to serve on Advocates for Youth’s national Young Women of Color Leadership Council and four members were selected to serve on Advocates for Youth’s Campus Organizing Team (Kristina, Diana, Salimah, and Tanisha)


Throughout the program, participants receive support and direction from HOTGIRLS staff and advisors, which includes public health researchers, health educators, activists, and health professionals.

Program Highlights

Despite a significant loss of grant funding in 2008-2009 for the YWLC program due to nonprofit foundation budget cuts and the economic downturn, we have worked diligently to address HIV/AIDS, violence against women and girls, and other important issues that disproportionately impact youth of color. We are proud to share a few of our highlights and accomplishments from the past year.

World AIDS Day

To recognize World AIDS Day and spread awareness about the disproportionate impact of HIV/ AIDS on the black community, our S.I.S.T.A. peer leaders (formerly known as the Young Women’s Leadership Council) and members of the Advocates for Youth Campus Organizing Team distributed 500 condoms and statistics concerning the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls of African descent in the United States and Sub-Saharan Africa to students in the Atlanta University Center.

Day of Silence in Recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In recognition of the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, YWLC peer leaders implemented a Day of Silence on the campus of Spelman College. Our members wore purple ribbons (the symbol of domestic violence awareness), remained silent for an entire school day, and disseminated information and resources about violence against women and girls to more than 500 college students in the Atlanta University Center, while encouraging students to wear ribbons in support of our cause.


YWLC Community Workshops

Our dedicated YWLC peer leaders have played an integral role in organizing workshops for the Atlanta University Center community. In 2009, we reached approximately 1,000 youth, parents, and educators through our workshops, summits, and presentations at schools, colleges and universities, conferences, and community-based organizations.

In April, S.I.S.T.A. peer leaders led “Between the Sheets”, a workshop focusing on HIV/AIDS, sexuality and gender-based violence for college students in the Atlanta University Center. At the workshop, students’ concerns and questions about HIV/AIDS, sexuality, and dating abuse were addressed by Dr. Carla Stokes, Joye Lowman, M.D. and a guest speaker from Sister Love, Inc.

Above: Dr. Carla leads a workshop at an Atlanta high school

National Black HIV/AIDS Day

We distributed information about HIV/AIDS and encouraged youth to get tested at the Black AIDS Day community event at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta.

I Am Worth It! Campaign

The “I Am Worth It” campaign provides a platform for young women and girls to affirm their worth and promote positive images of black women and girls by creating their own media that challenges the status quo. The YWLC conducted workshops at schools and community-based organizations that inspired young women and girls to speak out through social media and public education about representations in the media that sexualize women and girls and support the culture of domestic violence, street harassment, and teen dating abuse.

Annual Youth Summit

In May 2009, the HOTGIRLS Teen Advisory Board and S.I.S.T.A. peer leaders organized our 6th annual summit in conjunction with our I Am Worth It! campaign. The summit inspired approximately 20 young women and girls to believe in and celebrate their self-worth, make healthy choices in their lives, and promote positive images of black women and girls.

Dr. Carla Stokes and the S.I.S.T.A. peer leaders presented and discussed issues facing teen girls today. We engaged in a discussion about gender stereotypes, street harassment, and representations of black women and girls in the media after viewing a clip from Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes, a documentary by award-winning filmmaker Byron Hurt that examines sexism, violence, and homophobia in hip hop culture. Dr. Carla led a thought-provoking workshop on teen dating abuse and healthy relationships. We also had a lot of fun while acting out role-play scenarios and brainstorming solutions to teen cyberbullying. All of the workshops encouraged the participants to build healthy self-esteem and self-worth and recognize and dismantle stereotypes about black women and girls.

We would like to thank HOTGIRLS intern Yasin Parker and all of the HOTGIRLS volunteers and supporters who contributed to making the I Am Worth It! summit a success!


World AIDS Day PSA

The Young Women’s Leadership Council created a PSA to commemorate World AIDS Day in 2008.


1. Anderson R.N. & Smith B.L. (2000). Deaths: leading causes for 2002. National Vital Statistics Reports, 53(17), 67-70. Retrieved December 20, 2006 from:

2. Office of National AIDS Policy (2000). Youth and HIV/AIDS 2000: A New American Agenda. Washington, DC: White House.

3. Advocates for Youth (2006). Young African American Women and HIV. Washington, Retrieved November 14, 2006 from:

4. Rangel, M. C., Gavin, L., Reed, C., Fowler, M. G., & Lee, L. M. (2006). Epidemiology of HIV and AIDS among adolescents and young adults in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health, 39, 156-163.

5. Stokes, C.E. (2007, March-April). Representin’ in cyberspace: Sexual scripts, self-definition, and hip hop culture in black American adolescent girls’ home pages. Culture, Health & Sexuality, 9(2): 169-184.

6. Georgia Department of Human Resources. (2002a). Women and AIDS in Georgia, from:

7. Georgia Department of Human Resources. (2002b). Epidemiologic profile for HIV prevention community planning in Georgia, from:

8. Thompson-Robinson, M.V., Richter, D.L., Shegog, M.L., Weaver, M., Trahan, L., Sellers, D.B., & Brown, V.L. (Fall 2005). Perceptions of partner risk and influences on sexual decision-making for HIV prevention among students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Journal of African American Studies, 9 (2), 16-28.