Spotlight on Period.UGA!

IMG_8676Under the leadership of Chapter President, Jessica Ma, the PERIOD. group at the University of Georgia is thriving and bringing the message of menstrual equity to the campus in Athens.

On November 4th, following Period.UGA’s recent addition as a member, Georgia STOMP leadership updated a roomful of students on the coalition’s work. Questions following the presentation revealed just how informed and prepared to advocate Period.UGA is!

IMG_8683Additionally, these vibrant young women are proving themselves as leaders in the movement to eradicate period poverty. Through on-campus collections and distribution locally to those experiencing homelessness, they work to find new ways to share the message of menstrual equity.

Period.UGA’s recent National Period Day event was brilliantly planned to take advantage of traffic on campus for the Georgia Bulldog’s homecoming game. Georgia STOMP is better due to the work, voice and energy of these coalition partners!

 

 

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DOE Money FINALLY Distributed!

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With the 2019 legislative allocation of $1M for provision of feminine hygiene products in schools, the Georgia Department of Education (DOE) created a distribution formula that satisfied the intention of elected officials to begin addressing the issue of period poverty faced by Georgia students. In August, this formula was approved by the State Board of Education and the expectation was that the money would begin flowing. However, shortly after the State BOE approval of fund distribution, Governor Kemp announced his expectation that all state agencies cut spending by 4% in the 2019-2020 budget. Kemp’s announcement meant DOE had to hold the new funding while determining what the 4% cuts meant for allocations.

During the interim, while distribution was being finalized, Georgia STOMP worked with DOE to develop language and information that would be sent “with the money” when distribution did occur. We are thrilled to announce that on Wednesday, November 30th an email was sent to all Georgia Superintendents relating how much money was allocated for their district and explaining the intended purpose of the money and best methods for distribution, a document we were happy to see contained Georgia STOMP’s “voice.”

Attached is the FY20 Feminine Hygiene Grant Direct Certification for the funding. Many will notice the amounts in this document are different than the August document posted here. There are two reasons for this — first, this spreadsheet reflects the 4% cut in the $1M allocation, and second, the August document erroneously calculated funding based on all students in a system vs allocating based on the number of low income students in a school system.

Please use this information to contact your school leadership in order to fast-track the conversion of this money into period products placed in the hands of students who need them! If you have any questions about the distribution or can give us feedback about the implementation in your school system, please contact us at georgiastomp@gmail.com!

Guest Post from Mara Davis: On A Mission

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

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2nd Annual National Summit for Period Poverty Leadership

Claire Cox and Adele Stewart recently attended the Alliance for Period Supplies’ (APS) National Summit for Period Poverty Leadership on October 23rd, 2019. It was the second time the Georgia STOMP coalition attended the summit, though the first time Georgia STOMP was just an idea – not a 15,000 person-strong reality!

At the Summit, Claire and Adele presented the progress made over the last year in Georgia – highlighting the coalition building that led to successful relationships forged with Georgia’s Emergency Management Agency, Department of Corrections, Department of Education, and Department of Public Health.

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Cheering them on as they presented were two coalition member representatives – Jamie Lackey, CEO of Helping Mamas, and early advocate for the Georgia STOMP pillars, and Andrea Cooke, of Macon Periods Easier fame! Both were able to answer questions by other attendees about their involvement with the coalition, and some of the innovative ways they are addressing product need in Georgia.

Other presentations included incredible data reviews from a disturbing but incredibly meaningful study in St. Louis by Dr. Anne Serbert Kuhlmann, Ph.D., M.P.H., followed by a review of a year’s worth of APS data by Kelley Massengale, Ph.D., M.P.H., Director of Research and Evaluation at the Diaper Bank of North Carolina. The data from both of these presentations will surely change the advocacy landscape nationwide, highlighting our understanding of menstrual product access.

Look for more insights from the Summit over the coming weeks as we prepare for the 2020 Legislative Session!

Girl Scouts and Georgia STOMP – Badges Galore!

Over the summer, Claire Cox and Adele Stewart were lucky to meet the girls of Metter Girl Scout Troop #30083, and help them earn three new badges while discussing the pillars of Georgia STOMP’s work!

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The Brownies worked on Being a Philanthropist, and learned how to help people in need. The girls picked up quickly on how important it is to help one another in our communities, and how difficult life can be when needs aren’t being met. We talked about how some people need period products, and when they don’t have those products, how challenging going to school and staying at school might be. They also packed period packs to donate to the local schools so that girls in their community could focus on getting an education.

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The Juniors learned about Inside Government, and explored complex concepts about what it means to be a citizen, and how we all can be engaged citizens. They discussed different levels of government, and learned  how a bill is passed! After the training, they were able to contact their local State Senator and Representative about what they learned, and why they thought menstrual products 1) shouldn’t be taxes, and 2) should be freely available in schools.

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The Cadettes learned about Finding Common Ground, and used potato chip flavor preferences to understand the idea of compromise when many people have different opinions. While BBQ was the unifying potato chip flavor, the girls also explored more difficult concepts of why people may or may not think that menstrual products should be taxed, or freely available in schools. They also contacted their State Senators and Representatives, using emails as well as postcards.

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Georgia STOMP was honored to be able to make the trip to Metter and meet these young advocates. If your Girl Scout Troop is interested in earning these badges with our coalition, please contact us at GeorgiaSTOMP@gmail.com.

Gwinnett & North Fulton County Junior League Town Hall

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Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero, Rep. Sam Park and Claire Cox

The Junior League of Gwinnett and North Fulton County (JLGNF) is preparing itself for the upcoming legislative session! In a Town Hall Tuesday night, Georgia STOMP representative, Claire Cox, gave an update on the coalition’s work towards menstrual equity and elimination of period poverty in Georgia.

League members were fully engaged in the conversation, expressing gratitude for progress to date, and pledging to participate in efforts to pass HB8 in the 2020 session. Additionally, questions and discussion centered on assuring existing funding for school girls remains in next year’s state budget, and making sure girls in Juvenile Justice facilities have adequate supplies.

Following Georgia STOMP’s presentation, SPAC Delegate Regina Matthews posed questions to two Representatives from Districts where JLGNF members reside. After a question about HB8, Rep. Sam Park and Rep. Brenda Lopez Romero brought updates on other legislative matters including maternal mortality, sex trafficking, the economic effects of the Governor’s mandated budget cuts, healthcare and medicaid expansion.

Georgia STOMP is grateful to JLGNF, Regina Matthews, and League President Jennifer Wallace for the invitation to spread our message and for allotting valuable meeting time for this purpose.

If your group is interested in a presentation, get in touch soon!

Together, let’s get ready for the 2020 Session!

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Gwinnett and North Fulton County Junior League members with Rep. Sam Park, Sen. P. K. Martin and Claire Cox

 

Communities in Schools: Fueling Ambition in Schools

Communities in Schools Georgia President and CEO, Carol Lewis, spoke to Georgia STOMP leadership following our presentation and indicated CIS-Georgia’s desire to join the coalition!

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Claire Cox (Georgia STOMP), Carol Lewis (CIS-Ga President and CEO) and Leslie Myles (CIS-Ga Director Programs and Student Support Services)

Georgia STOMP was invited to speak at the Communities in Schools (CIS) Executive Directors’ meeting today in Atlanta, where affiliates from across the state met to plan for the upcoming year.  It was an honor for our coalition to be present as the men and women at the tables dedicate their time ensuring Georgia’s students succeed and reach their potential.

Claire Cox presented about Georgia STOMP’s 4 pillars, focusing on the $1 million in funding that was allocated to the Department of Education for feminine hygiene products. Those present were encouraged to communicate with principals, school nurses, school staff, and community members about the state funding to ensure all school systems know its purpose when the money is released by the State Department of Education and to be prepared to advocate for its continued presence in the budget when the legislature convenes for its 2020 session. All of the Executive Directors were also invited to officially join the Georgia STOMP coalition.

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