We aim to advocate for systemic change through policy and legislation regarding menstrual equity. Reaching out to state representatives, canvassing, and lobbying are all important in making period poverty a mainstream issue and one that our legislators will prioritize. As a chapter, you will have the opportunity to stand as the face of PERIOD and advocate for legislative change in your respective state by meeting with state representatives, testifying on these issues, and making your voices heard! Read below to learn more about how you can get more involved in policy change and set up meetings with your state reps!
Organizing For Justice Training
Join PERIOD for the Organizing for Justice Training Sessions led by the Midwest Academy! This series of trainings will focus on utilizing grassroots strategies to demand justice in our communities. Please feel free to share widely as all are welcome!
All training will take place via Zoom and will run 90 minutes per session.
The Midwest Academy (The Academy) is a national training institute committed to supporting struggles for racial, economic, and social justice. From local neighborhood groups to statewide and national organizations, they have trained over 50,000 grassroots activists from hundreds of organizations and coalitions during their 47-year history.
The overall goals of their training and consulting are to help grassroots leaders strengthen their organizations and bring about concrete improvements in public policy impacting people’s lives; actualize opportunities to help build broader social movements for justice, and develop the personal tools to sustain one’s organizing practice over the long haul.
The Academy trains participants to think like organizers, that is, to analyze power, and think strategically and organizationally.
- Training Session 1: Relations of Power; Saturday, December 5th, 2 PM - 3:30 PM ET
- Training Session 2: Strategy in Campaign Development; Thursday, January 7th, 7 PM - 8:30 PM ET
- Training Session 3: Racial Justice Frameworks in Organizing; Thursday, January 28th , 7 PM - 8:30 PM ET
Training Session 1: Relations of Power; Saturday, December 5th, 2 PM - 3:30 PM ET
It is not enough to be right, have good arguments, understand the legislative process or know important people. When confronting organized power on the other side (for example, the power of big corporations, structural racism, and economic inequality), it is necessary to develop measurable power of our own. Participants then analyze the forms of power available to most community organizations, in relation to the specific types of social changes they are seeking
Training Session 2: Strategy in Campaign Development; Thursday, January 7th, 7PM - 8:30PM ET
Strategy is the core of our program. Using the Midwest Academy Strategy Chart, participants learn how to identify and analyze the relationships between goals, organizational resources, and objectives, constituencies, decision-makers, and tactics. This puts everything we say about analyzing power into the practical context
of an issue campaign, and keeps track of all the moving parts.
Training Session 3: Racial Justice Frameworks in Organizing; Thursday January 28th , 7PM - 8:30PM ET
Participants will be led through a set of questions and reflections that ask about equity considerations. How do racism, sexism, homophobia, economic inequality, and other structural inequities affect your constituency and the issues that you are concerned about? Who is most impacted by the issues you are addressing? Are the people most impacted at the table from the beginning, involved in choosing and defining the issues and building strategy? Or is diversity and deep representation of impacted communities an afterthought? Do the long-term outcomes of your work lead toward dismantling the structures of injustice, or merely address immediate problems? This tool guides organizations through questions that apply to racial, gender, economic, and other equity issues.
Check Out PAD 2020
Work with your state legislators to eliminate the discriminatory tampon tax and make products available in schools, shelters, and prisons.
The tampon tax refers to a luxury tax on menstrual products. Yup, you read that right! This means that menstrual products are considered to be items of luxury, and not of necessity. In contrast, many products like Viagra and Rogaine are not taxed. A crucial step in the fight for menstrual equity is ending the tampon tax!
- In schools: Menstrual hygiene products are basic necessities, eand the inability to access them affects a student’s freedom to study, be healthy, and participate in society with dignity. Like toilet paper, these products should be provided in all restrooms for easy and direct access rather than creating a barrier by being placed in one central restroom or in the nurse's office.
- In shelters: Currently, the Internal Revenue Service does not classify tampons and pads as medical expenses. Thus, tampons and pads cannot be purchased through government assistance programs like SNAP or Medicaid. This issue has especially been affecting menstruators in the homeless community
- In Prisons: Some prisons across the country are degrading menstruators by failing to provide incarcerated women with adequate menstrual products and exposing them to major health risks.
- Though PERIOD. is currently focused on exempting the tampon tax in the remainder of US states and providing menstrual products in schools across the country, our goal is to influence positive change to ultimately end period poverty on all levels.
5 Steps to Meet with your legislator
After finding their contact information reach out via email and phone call and mention the issue you plan to speak about. It's common to find that your state representative is too busy to meet, if that is the case, be sure to request a meeting with a member of their core staff. Staff members are often aware of specific bills and common issues across the state, speaking to them is an effective way of relaying information to your state representative.
- Review the list of talking points and be sure to fully understand the issue(s) you will be speaking about. firstname.lastname@example.org can help you prepare talking points.
- Make the most of your time. Meetings with a representative are typically scheduled for 15 to 45 minutes. For that reason, keep the number of issues you plan to speak about to a maximum of 2.
- If 2 or more people will be attending the meeting, decide who will be attending and what points each person will be making.
- Understand what your goals are for this meeting and what you plan to achieve by meeting with the legislator or their staff.
- Be sure to leave a printed copy of the handout with your contact information in case the legislator plans to reach back out to you.
- Your representatives are very busy, be respectful of their time and try to arrive 10-15 minutes early.
- Have a notebook and take clear notes about what the representative says. Make sure to write down any names of different representatives that could be allies to the movement or any bills that would be useful to read and learn more about. Possible talking points:
- Issues surrounding period poverty in your respective state
- Tax on menstrual products in your state (if applicable)
- Bills introduced or passed that are related to improving the accessibility and/or affordability of menstrual products. This includes schools, shelters, prisons.
It’s important to send a thank you letter/email to your representative as soon as possible.
Review the notes you took down during the meeting and look over what questions have been answered or what questions you may still have for your representative.
Be sure to follow up with any useful materials that your representative may have requested.
It’s important to keep the PERIOD team updated and all the policy work you are doing. Be sure to send an email to email@example.com and inform them about the meeting you have scheduled and update them on what progress you may have made.
Products in School
5 Steps to getting menstrual products in your school restrooms
Connect with other passionate individuals who care about the subject. Some places you may find these allies include your PERIOD chapter, social justice clubs, the health center, OB/GYNs on campus, and gender studies departments.
Many chapters are using petitions on Action Network to demonstrate community support, but other schools have seen success without petitions.
You have the people, now you need a plan. Divide up the action items, and complete all the tasks before contacting your administrators. It is important to be organized, informed, and prepared when you meet with them. These action items include:
- Scheduling a meeting
Once you have everything ready, set up an in-person meeting with school decision-makers calling their office or emailing them directly. Elect a few individuals to meet with administration and pitch the project.
- Read and understand the sample cost breakdown for the administration to provide menstrual products. Look into cost estimates and understand the investment. For example: Here is the cost breakdown for a full menstrual product program in academic buildings with Aunt Flow.
Look for inspiration in the sample handout, it provides a quick synopsis of what you want and why you feel passionate about this initiative.
When it is time to meet with your administration, be prompt and dress professionally. Make sure you:
- Have hard copies of all materials - we recommend that you use the “school handout” to leave with the administrators when you finish, and ensure that any technological elements in your presentation are working properly.
- Begin by presenting your handout, then move into the cost, as well as your plan for executing the program.
- Listen to the concerns of the administrators, answer their questions, and work with them to come up with a plan moving forward.
- Talking points:
- Introduce yourself and share why you got involved with PERIOD and are passionate about the menstrual movement
- Before going into the meeting, be sure you're clear on what your "ask" is! Are you interested in starting a pilot program in your school to push for free menstrual hygiene products?
- "How can we help you?" is a question worth asking your administrators. This may be creating a marketing sheet about the products, stating to not steal them or even surveying your student body.
- Schedule a follow-up meeting with your administrators and make sure you’re clear about what you need to have ready by this follow-up meeting and the tentative deadline for implementing this project.
- After your meeting, be sure to send a thank you email to the people you met with.
- For more personalized advice and guidance, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Talking points:
It is vital to meet with your school administration to speak about the lack of menstrual products in your school. Making them aware of this issue and its urgency in which it must be dealt with is the first step towards a solution. When connecting with potential companies who could provide your school with products, it is also important to reach out to a distributor who can fulfill your school's needs and meet the financial budget.
- After meeting with your school administration be sure to follow up with them after the meeting to keep the conversation going. In many cases, you will have to be persistent in order to see action being taken.
- Work with your school to understand the next steps for the pilot or full implementation, and whether your chapter has any responsibility. If you have any questions about this process reach out to email@example.com.
Implement a pilot program OR prepare for campus-wide adoption. Keep the momentum going by broadcasting your success on social media and connecting with the school or the local newspaper to write a story.
We have more resources coming soon to help you with your policy and advocacy efforts!