A rally takes aim at "poverty period."
From the October, 2019 issue
"Our goal for the rally is really to start conversations," says U-M grad student Ashley Rapp. "Periods shouldn't be something weird for people to talk about!"
Rapp is an organizer for Ann Arbor's first celebration of National Period Day, scheduled for Saturday, October 19, on the Diag. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell and other legislators will join student activists speaking out about "period poverty," when women can't afford to buy tampons or pads. Another organizer, Adi Orlyanchik, a junior at Washtenaw International High School, hopes that legislators will call for "providing clean and healthy period products to schools, shelters, and prisons." Orlyanchik says they also want to end the "tampon tax" by exempting menstrual supplies from Michigan's sales tax.
Both women have organized school affiliates of PERIOD, a national organization launched three years ago. Orlyanchik bought in after watching a video depicting homeless women in New York using cardboard for pads. Rapp got involved after she learned that some Detroit girls stayed home from school during their periods because they couldn't afford pads. "I freak out when I don't have one in my backpack!" she says.
Though both have launched successful tampon donation drives, they acknowledge it's hard to break the taboo. Rapp says that when she set up a PERIOD information booth on the Diag, some passersby laughed uncomfortably. And "a lot of people looked at our poster and walked away so fast."
[Originally published in October, 2019.]
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