If your Instagram feed is anything like ours, it’s full of menstrual justice activists and organizations all working to end period poverty and smash menstrual stigma. But it’s important to consider: what accounts do you follow? Whose perspectives are you seeing? Whose experiences are you learning about?
BIPOC activists have been kept out of menstrual equity organizing, looked over, under-appreciated, and had their intellectual and emotional labour co-opted and stolen from them since the movement began. In the fight for menstrual equity and justice, it’s vital to centre the experiences of marginalized folks and organizers, to support them, and to amplify their voices and work.
The reproductive rights movement focuses on the legal right to access reproductive care and support, like menstrual products, abortion, and birth control. Reproductive Justice, on the other hand, seeks to tackle these issues with an intersectional approach, acknowledging the compounding impact of racism, and other forms of oppression, on access to products, healthcare, family planning, and the right to have and raise a family.
“Indigenous women, women of color, and trans* people have always fought for Reproductive Justice” but the term Reproductive Justice was first coined by a group of black feminist activists in Chicago 25 years ago, who later founded the organization Sistersong. Sistersong’s mission “is to strengthen and amplify the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.”
With that in mind, here are 5 badass BIPOC menstrual justice activists, who you should follow, support (with your time, and if you are able, money), and learn from:
Chelsea VonChaz Founder of #HappyPeriod, @wearehappyperiod
Chelsea VonChaz and her mom Cherryl Warner founded #HappyPeriod in 2015 with the mission to support menstruators who would otherwise go without period products. #HappyPeriod works “to spread awareness on menstrual health, eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation, and provide people with periods options that are good for their wallet, their body, and the planet”.
Ileri Jaiyeoba, founder of Code Red Collective, @coderedco
When Ileri was 16 she founded Code Red Collective. The organization is breaking the menstrual taboo by supporting through product donations, advocacy and menstrual literacy. Taking a holistic approach to menstrual equity, the Code Red Collective is actively working to dismantle “inaccessibility and [the] lack of intersectionality when it comes to period wellness and the community problems surrounding it.”
Nayanka Paul, co-founder of The Bloody Bitches nonprofit, @bloodybtchs
The Bloody Bitches nonprofit takes an intersectional approach to addressing period poverty co-founded by Nayanka Paul and Zoë Vella. Their organization focuses on four connected “tiers of period poverty”: accessibility, education, environmental justice, and fundamental rights.
Amber Garcia, Executive Director of Women’s Voices for the Earth, @womensvoices
Amber is the executive director of Women’s Voices of the Earth, an organization that is on a mission to “eliminate the toxic chemicals that harm our health and communities”. As the Executive Director at WVE, Amber brings her experiences working with the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR). COLOR is an organization that advocates for Reproductive Justice, and highlights the experiences of Latinas, their families, and allies.
Lynette Medley, Founder of Founder and CEO of No More Secrets Mind Body Spirit, @no_moresecrets469
You might have seen the take over that No More Secrets did on our Instagram, If not, here’s a reminder: No More Secrets distributes around 38,000 period products per week across America Through their work and the hashtag #blackgirlsbleed. Through #blackgirlsbleed Lynette and No More Secrets have created a platform that addresses systemic racism in the menstrual health space through storytelling and amplifying black voices.
All of these organizations accept donations, please visit their websites and Instagram pages to learn how you can help out!
Image via The Gender Spectrum Collection