By Sam Gault, Communications and Engagement Manager
February 15, 2023
We’re so proud of our menstrual equity champions! NCJW Minnesota’s Periods Happen initiative has made great strides in recent months, both in terms of product distribution and legislative action.
While our tampon supply has been holding up, since we tend to get fewer requests for them, our supply of menstrual pads was dwindling. At the beginning of this month, we were down to our very last carton of Seventh Generation pads from the company’s 2020 donation. Thanks to the generosity of 80 donors, our “Give to the Max(i Pad)” campaign this past November was a huge success, and we raised enough money to order 100 cases of Kotex pads, for a grand total of 14,400 individual pads! The new order arrived just in the nick of time, as we received three requests for pads from three schools in the past week alone. Now all we had to do was transport 100 cases of pads to our storage unit for distribution…
A mighty team of volunteers (pictured above) stepped up to save the day, making quick work of transporting our order from the medical supply company to the warehouse, where they are ready to be distributed as we head into the final months of the school year. Thank you Abby, Lisa, Marilyn, Rollie, and Pam!
If you’d like to join the listserv of Periods Happen delivery volunteers, please send me an email and I’ll add you straightaway.
On the legislative side, we’re closer than ever to passing House File 44/Senate File 50 to bring menstrual equity to Minnesota schools! You can learn more about this bill, as well as other legislation we’re watching this session, from the regularly updated “Bills We’re Watching” post on this blog. Erica Solomon, our Executive Director, was also recently interviewed about NCJW Minnesota’s work on menstrual equity on Gender Justice’s podcast—give it a listen here.
If you would like to write a post for this blog—whether on an event, a social issue, or anything else NCJW-related—please don’t hesitate to send it my way!
Menstrual Equity Bill Makes Progress
by Erica Solomon, Executive Director
January 13, 2023
Periods Happen–which started when one school’s request for menstrual hygiene products sparked an NCJW program that has distributed 200,000 pads and tampons to the community–is close to counting a legislative achievement among its impacts.
After faltering at the last moment in 2022, chief authors Representative Sandra Feist (39B) and Senator Steve Cwodzinski (49) introduced the Menstrual Equity Bill in the first week of the 2023 session as HF44/SF50. NCJW has been working alongside Rep. Feist, Sen. Cwodzinski, and a team of community advocates (many of them high school students led by Hopkins High Junior, Elif Ozturk) to bring menstrual equity to Minnesota schools by providing funding for period products for all 4th-12th grade student restrooms. Learn more about the bill, the research behind it, and how it would help Minnesota students thrive, in this Star Tribune Opinion piece from January 11, 2023.
Where we are
This past Wednesday, January 11, the bill had its first committee hearing with House Education Policy. A great slate of student and school nurse testifiers did a fantastic job advocating for the bill’s necessity and impact. Rep. Urdahl (16A) introduced an amendment to prevent the bill from including “boys” gendered restrooms (currently, it states that products must be provided in at least one of these in each school). NCJW opposes this amendment because the inclusion of trans or nonbinary students that have no choice but to use gendered restrooms at school is crucial to fulfill the bill’s goal of creating equity for all students that menstruate. Additionally, exposing even male identifying students that don’t menstruate themselves to these products helps eliminate stigma and normalize periods–an important goal of the legislation. Thankfully, the amendment did not prevail, and the committee approved the referral of the bill in its original form to the House Education Finance committee. This is a big win as it brings us one step closer to a floor vote and eventual signing into law!
The House Education Finance Committee will hear the bill on Wednesday, January 18 at 10:30 a.m. Later that same day, at 12:30 p.m., the Senate House Policy Committee will hear their version of the bill. Another strong group of testifiers is lined up for the day’s hearings. We welcome you to attend the hearings, which will be held Capitol 120 (House committee) and Senate Office Building Room 1200 (Senate committee). You can also livestream them on the House website and Senate YouTube channel as your schedule allows. We look forward to sharing outcome of the hearings, and hopefully being scheduled in the Senate Education Finance Committee soon afterwards.
If you are connected with any school staff and/or 4th-12th grade students that would be interested in submitting a written statement of support, or possibly testifying at an upcoming hearing, please get in touch with Erica Solomon at Erica@ncjwmn.org.
Let’s make 2023 the year that we #EndPeriodPovertyMN!