Reflections on #PERIODCON2017 by Maya Foxall (PERIOD @ ASU)

A few months ago, I received an email about an upcoming convention from a regional leader. It was the first time that I had considered a meeting of chapters leaders and advocates for the movement that had enveloped me for the past few months.

Yet almost as immediately as I thought about this convention and the possibilities it could bring, I realized just how far I was to attending. Not only was money a factor, which any college student can attest is important to consider, but distance was too.

I then reflected on why I would want to be a part of this event and what that could do for my chapter as a whole. This reflection then pushed me to attend the budget meetings for student government and stay on hold for two hours, yes two hours, just to beg for funding.

I almost gave up many times, with the thought that I wasn’t passionate enough nor was my voice loud enough, but then I realized that I am not advocating to represent my voice, but to represent others.

This rant is what I feel PERIOD CON was about. It was a group of passionate leaders that came from near and far to spend a day collaborating and discussing how to better represent the voices of our movement.

I have never considered myself an advocate or a change maker. I was constantly taught that leading is better than following, yet I was never given the tools or tips to lead.

PERIOD CON was a conference that offered me steps and resources, or assets, to lead. Whether that be in the larger menstrual movement or in my personal chapter.

One panel stuck out to me, which was The Menstrual Movement Around the World, which discussed the how other cultures treated menstruation and leaders that worked on the menstrual movement around the globe. Alaina Wayland, a panelist and educator in New York said that the Kenyan boys she interacted with were, ‘eager for future use as teachers and the students they’d teach that menstruation would have an impact on.’

This spoke to me because I always find an issue with those not involved in the menstrual movement to be uncomfortable and unwelcoming to discussion. However, to hear that boys in different countries can see the benefits of learning more on menstruation is eye opening. It reaffirms that we must take a page out of others books to better ourselves.

From the panels on powerhouses to gender inclusivity, the discussions and relationships that I have built in that short time are ones that I have taken with me 2,000 miles back to my school amongst students and faculty that have the right to be educated and informed.

This event has also inspired me to take action to bring access to free menstrual products on my campus and beyond. The ability to reach my local community and those beyond Tempe and Phoenix are goals that I seek to instill in my chapter in the upcoming months and years.