My choice to align with period poverty issues started by wanting to find a way to bring women of different political views together. A few years ago I went to a happy hour where everyone was on the same side politically. The idea of the party was a meeting of the minds, but we were all like minded people. To me this seemed kind of narrow. Just because we don’t have the same views doesn’t mean we can’t be friends. As we all talked it hit me, every single woman can relate to getting a period. The good, the bad and the ugly. From there I was on a mission.
I found the Homeless Period Project on Twitter. One day I saw an article about girls missing school because they didn’t have access to products. I retweeted it with a note saying how helpless I felt. Then one of my followers turned me on to HPP. I went to their site immediately, watched the video, cried and then reached out to the founder, Sharron Champion. I couldn’t believe this was happening and it broke my heart. She explained the mission and encouraged me to have a period party. I did soon after and posted a photo of it on instagram. Women all over Atlanta and beyond started to ask how to help. It was incredible. Sharron warned me that once I started dropping off the product at schools I’d become addicted to helping girls. She was right. In between working I always find a way to move the cause further. I was able to get the Indigo Girls involved in a benefit concert which was simply amazing. Having their voice was a huge way to spread more awareness. It was there I met Adele and Claire from Georgia STOMP and Jennifer Weiss Wolf. Learning about what they do was a realization that this was bigger than just house parties. It’s a movement.
As time went on, more women wanted to volunteer with Homeless Period Project in Atlanta. Enter Torrey Linder and Brittany Martin. These two amazing women have taken the reins to make this an even bigger initiative. It was because of them we were able to do the Stock The Schools event in September. When I started with this cause I always had a dream of doing a giant period packing party at a brewery. Sweetwater was kind enough to donate the space. With the help of Torrey and Brittany we were off to the races. I have become friendly with the nurses and teachers of East Hall County so we designated much of the product for them. We had other groups involved that came to the event and they benefitted as well. Because of being in media I was able to mention the event on The Bert Show which definitely brought more awareness. In the end we raised about 2500 period packs. Also, everyone there learned more about HB6, made period packs and left with new friends.
I’m thankful for Adele and Claire and the work they do trying to get legislation in order. And it brings back to exactly why I wanted to get involved in the first place. This is non partisan. Women should not have to pay extra for something that happens to all of us once a month. We can’t give up the fight and we won’t. When women stand together, amazing things can happen.
Mara Davis is an Atlanta radio personality.Hear her on WABE ATL’s NPR, The Bert Show & Atlanta Eats