How Four Teens Fought to Change Period Law
This is feeling my flow. Podcast where we see ministration as an event that happens to all types of bodies I'm COMMUNICA. Johnny opponents are she and her. We've talked period activists on a few episodes before to recap an activist is someone who works to change and rules in their school city state even the whole country on this episode talking to fourteen activists in Colorado who got together to make an important change in their schools and then they fought to change the law in their state our producer. Mia Warrant spoke to them in Denver. Colorado my name is Jocelyn Got Fred. I'm seventeen and my pronouns. She her. I'm Julia drew. I'm eighteen and my Brennan's are she her as well. I Milo s lar- I'm seventeen Emma pronouns. Are She her? I'm Piper AIKOFF. I am eighteen and my pronouns. Are She her? When Julia and Jocelyn with juniors in high school they started a new club. Here's Julia I think. The goal overall was just to create a space within our school where people could talk about the problems they were experiencing and like have a community of people who support them. They named it. The Intersectional Feminist Club. A feminist is someone who believes in the equality of all people and intersectional feminist as someone who thinks about a lot of different things like race class or nationality. And how they affect the way folks moved through the world back. When Julian Jocelyn formed the club. They didn't know of students would even show up. Our first meeting was kind of rough honestly. Legendarily dropped an entire thing of guacamole on the floor. That's what started it was. It was a pretty good turnout from the beginning and like it sort of showed that there was an interest in those in that people did care about it. Maya join the club about a month. After it started. I remember first meeting. I walked in and we were all like making bracelets for fundraiser. And just from the STAR. It was just like a super like chill environment where you could talk about whatever issues you wanted to. Maya and Piper have been best friends since the fourth grade Piper joined later on when the club decided to tackle a new and challenging project. It all started. When members of the club started reflecting on what a pain it was to get your period unexpectedly at school. You frantically run around asking all your friends if they have one. What we didn't know was They did carry them in the nurse's office before but it's honestly another thing. That has a lot of stigma around it. Because at the nurse's office you have to put down your name right. How many you're taking. Even the nurse's office had period products. Not Many students knew that. So the club wondered. What would it look like if the school bathrooms stocked products? All the time for free providing free medical products in schools has been debated for years but only recently that cities and states has started passing laws to provide products for Free New Hampshire California and Illinois have laws that required schools to offer free mental products but in Colorado. Many schools don't even provide them in bathroom vending machines so in the spring of Nineteen. The club came up with the idea of installing machines in their school bathrooms to give free products any student who needed them but the school administration wasn't really on board when they pitched it they basically said. Kinda just came up with a lot of different excuses. They said there was problems with plumbing. Which really doesn't make sense because like having more access to period products doesn't change the amount that people are using or flushing down the toilets. They said that there would be problems with fundraising and so that's when we ended up fundraising our own money and then they thought that people would be like throwing them everywhere. And I don't know there's just a lot of every excuse debunked every weird theory that they had one school push back against their idea. The clubs stepped up efforts. They decided to raise funds than buy and install the machines themselves without permission from their school Piper was the treasurer in charge of fundraising over the summer. Twenty nineteen. The club raised thirteen hundred dollars for the machines and products. Maya was in charge of planning. I had done research. Because the machines had to be approved by district to be like in school And then I had to go through the price in like getting the money like officially into our school cal than finding the products. And then I can't order through the vendor so then I had to like get somebody else to order so just like this whole complicated thing my figure it out how many machines the club could afford with the money they raised and the prices of each machine down to the sent. Jocelyn was in charge of communications learning out a perfectly construct. An email everything. You need been like big thing for me before this. I probably could barely write an email now pro. It took a huge amount of organizing and planning in the summer. Twenty nineteen they celebrated in style. Did a little ribbon cutting learned how to stock the machines and we were so excited. We're just taking a bunch of photos and going around to the bathrooms. It was really cool. This was over winter break so this was before like all the kids had come back to school pristine and beautiful in all. The activists of the Intersectional Feminist Club worked for a year to get those machines installed. Here's Jocelyn or is just so cool to like this thing we've been talking about for so long and then it's like finally in the school. The physical boxes are in the wall. Like they're going to be there for a long time no matter what happens when we leave like. I don't know it's just call that we did that. In our school club members now restock. The machines with pads and Tampons and their period activism inspired them to think bigger. Here's Julia I headed the Legislative Action Committee and we were basically just contacting politicians and representatives asking them to support a piece of legislation for our club. That's right. The club. Wanted to bring free metro products to other schools in Colorado. Basically to do what they'd already done but on a bigger scale and that required writing a bill. A bill is a draft of a law. A rule that we all have to follow. An activist often participate in drafting them. These savvy student activists got a little help from a pro. Hello my name is Brian. To tone. I'm state representative in House District. Twenty seven and my opponents are she her hers. Brianna tone represents the same district that Arvada West high school calls home truths elected in two thousand eighteen. The same year that a record number of women ran for office across the United States that year at thirty six new women candidates won seats in the House of Representatives and she was one of them when the club reached out representative to tone went to their school to meet with them. We all sat in the Teachers Lounge. And I said you know will tell me. Tell me what you WanNa do what? What's what's his bill idea. You have. And they had lots of information they done some research and some facts and figures about it and try to make a compelling argument that it was a good idea and I said to them. I like the idea but I'm not gonNA run the bill unless you run the bill with me because this is your idea and I want you to own this idea and I want to help you develop it and get this idea out to the club. Got To work kind like a telephone system like Briana would ask us what we want it in. She would take it to her bill drafter in he would do his best You Know Kinda. See Our vision. And then she would bring it back to us. We'd be like Oh we want to change this. This and this ultimately their work turned into Colorado Bill. One one three one introduce on the State House floor in January. Here's a quick rundown. The bill proposes that groups and organizations donate money to schools in Colorado with the highest reduced. Lunch populations that involves often use to determine which schools have large numbers of low income students and other words. The bill is trying to encourage people in Colorado to help men traders who can't afford period products. If the bill becomes law the Colorado state government will reward schools that offer free measure hygiene products students representative tone at our producer. Mia that the bill would solve all the problems. This is a complete answer it. It's just a start of solving the problem. It's a way to get. The conversation started in. The conversation has been kind of ignored and overlooked and people find it difficult to talk about. I was trying to get some other legislators to run the bill with me and they said that they would have a hard time talking about tampons in front of the House. And that's part of the problem is that they don't want to even talk about it but the problem isn't GonNa go away unless we talk about it. In February six it pass in the education committee. The vote was eight to five. We record this interview. There were still a few steps left before the bill could become law but when the coronavirus. Colorado the governor's slash the state budget all bills over considered non essential were killed Julia. Jocelyn Maya and Piper were really bummed out about this but there were still happy to start a conversation about periods in their local government and they convinced the two largest Colorado School districts to install products in all their schools. The activists say they've learned a lot from representative to tone. She's smart but she doesn't ever make us feel like we don't know we're talking about like I always feel so heard by her everything we say like it's like a real conversation not with someone who's in power over us but with someone who wants to give us power you know. Julia and Joscelyn's Day. They learned a lot about themselves to. I've learned to advocate for myself and my beliefs through this. I don't think I'm a very like person all settle for things a lot but I've learned not to do that as much into like really stand my ground are I'd say for me. It's just so rewarding to see people like get to know each other and like actually have like a community like from the beginning of our club to now like the people in our club com every week and they know each other and it's people who wouldn't usually talk to each other my as considering going into politics one day. This is something that I wanna do one day and it's something that like I did on purpose. I kinda just found myself in this project and I was like. Oh my gosh like I'm learning all these things that I can take into the next like years of my life feeling my flow. We love stories like this one young people getting involved in what matters to them and making a difference feeling my flow wants to help you start important conversations at critical moments. When you're organizing for change in your community you can read more about Colorado House. Bill number one three one on our website. We posted a link to bear feeling. My flow was production of Lindsay Williams and co where it's inform entertain and empower. Ask Your parents or an adult if you can visit us at feeling my flow that's F. L. O. Dot Com or connect with us on social media at flow pod. That's Elo underscore peo- on twitter and instagram. This episode was produced by MIA Warren producer. It was mixed by Cogency Shiro. Our San Engineer is Cedrick Wilson. Our system producer Emma Forbes. I'm Camilo Kashani. Support for tracks comes from the corporation for public broadcasting. This is tracks from P. R. X.