Hundreds of Black mamas and those who care about Black mamas found community at this…
Positive periods should be a reality for all menstruators, but many people across the United States battle to access the period products they need. According to the Black Women’s Health Imperative, it is estimated that a quarter of all U.S. menstruators struggled to afford period products due to a lack of income in the last year. Combating period poverty is at the forefront of the Next Generation Leadership Institute’s work. Fellows are rising to the occasion to reduce period stigmas while addressing the need for menstruation products on their campuses. Throughout the 2020-2021 academic year many of our fellows held forums on their campuses to raise awareness about menstrual equity and distributed over 500 period products to their peers in need.
On May 27, the Next Generation Leadership Institute collaborated with our partner organization Black Women’s Health Imperative’s My Sister’s Keeper Program to host Positive Period Conversation: Menstrual Hygiene Day 2021. Menstrual Hygiene Day is an annual day of awareness that highlights the importance of equitable access to menstruation products for all. The goal of the positive period conversation was for youth advocates to share and elevate their efforts to eradicate period poverty. Young people from across the nation participated in the discussion in hopes of dispelling damaging menstruation myths and making the positive period movement more inclusive. Real change starts with having period-centered dialogues that empower our stories and experiences.
“My biggest takeaway from the ‘Positive Period’ event was acknowledging every menstruator’s preference for their choice of product that they use. Although menstrual cups are more eco-friendly, they are not realistic for someone who does not have access to clean water to sanitize their cups,” said Hampton University Fellow Amber Wynne. “In addition, products that involve penetration may be uncomfortable to others. Hence the reason it is important that when we are serving our community that we have EVERY option available to ensure that we are meeting the needs of EVERY menstruator.”
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda understands the unique challenges that many students face to access menstrual products on campus. In addition to hosting positive period conversations, the Next Generation Leadership Institute has established a Period Poverty Grant to provide funding for fellows’ menstrual equity projects on their HBCU campuses. Our partner organization, Black Women’s Health Imperative, is also working to eliminate period poverty through their Positive Period campaign.