We are honoured to have interviewed Lynette Medley (Founder/CEO No More Secrets) about why she started the SPOT Period Menstrual Hub – the first menstrual hub in America (opened February 2021) and what she hopes to achieve amongst BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of colour) with the #BlackGirlsBleed campaign.
Casimira Melican: We were excited to see your work elevating and energising the conversation on ‘End Period Poverty’, #BlackGirlsBleed and now, by opening The SPOT Menstrual Hub. Can you tell us what inspired you to leap into menstrual activism and working on solutions to period poverty and taboos?
Lynette Medley: A. Black women’s realities about their Menstrual cycles and experiences are nullified and rejected from Menstrual brands and movements.
B.There’s an ongoing egregious myth that Black women do not experience pain in the same ways that white women.
C. Black women are not safe in our society and our voices are muted and ignored causing a deficit in authentic information exchanges.
The SPOT Period is for our community. It is here that we wanted to create a safe space for BIPOC women and girls to escape the dangers of a society that’s anti black and anti women to gain acceptance, resources and a place to relax their minds and bodies.
One of the rooms at our HUB will be dedicated in memory of our beautiful sister Breonna Taylor.
It is…Here that we can empower, uplift and equip our young Black women and girls with the tools necessary to uplift their authentic voices to fight against systemic racism and oppression to become activists and advocates for equal and equitable Menstrual care and Health care.
CM: Please tell us more about the #BlackGirlsBleed campaign and what you hope to achieve with it.
LM: Our #BlackGirlsBleed movement seeks to address systemic racism and oppression in the menstrual health space by amplifying authentic voices of Black menstruators and experiences of BIPOC-owned and lead organizations addressing menstrual equity – an area historically dominated by white perspectives; to ultimately decrease generational silence and stigma surrounding menstruation in Black communities. BIPOC individuals consistently have their voices muted and ignored, and their own menstrual experiences nullified and rejected, thus, it is dire to acknowledge menstrual equity as an intersectional issue.
So, follow, engage, read, and listen to BIPOC menstrual experiences, as true, equitable, menstrual justice cannot be achieved without racial justice. Menstrual equity is often highlighted as affordability, accessibility, and safety of menstrual products. Menstrual equity expands far beyond just products, it’s also imperative to provide our communities with education, resources, and multiple options to manage their menstrual hygiene and health.
CM: From what we can see The Menstrual Hub is a unique idea – to offer women, girls and other menstruators a physical place they can come for support, products, information and just to be safely and fully accepted. What are the challenges, hopes and opportunities for The Menstrual Hub?
LM: No More Secrets Mind Body Spirt Inc. (NMS) is a grassroots Sexuality Awareness Organization that independently created the first and only feminine hygiene bank in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Tristate area and the only rapid response door to door feminine hygiene delivery service in the nation to persons in our direct area in addition to shipping nationwide.
NMS independently delivers a 3-5 month supply of feminine hygiene products to the doorsteps of persons living in poverty or suffering from economic hardships. They service approximately 250 individuals by distributing over 38,000 products weekly. In 2020 NMS delivered almost 2 million menstrual products to underserved BIPOC populations.
The SPOT (Safety Programming Optimal Transformation) Period Menstrual Hub was created to expand our current services in an attempt to reach more families and provide a comprehensive approach to Menstrual wellness. We are creating a safe nonjudgmental space to provide acceptance, understanding, education, period care, period resources and access to clean water and operable toilets to marginalized women and girls to aid them in reaching their full potential. We are inspiring them to believe in themselves and realize that just like ourselves we are so much more than an overlooked societal statistic.
Lynette Medley is dedicated and highly skilled sexual awareness educator and counselor with +15 years of experience in the areas of sexuality, behavioural health, education, religion and advocacy. What distinguishes her from others in her field of expertise is that she noticed an unmet area of need strategically and intentionally addressed it and continues to successfully dominate her newly created lane. Lynette is not afraid to push the envelope and integrates sexuality into numerous conversations to meet persons needs in totality. She is extremely gifted and leads uncomfortable discussions with ease. It's simple to explain why: if it isn't realistic or relevant enough, people lose interest and transformations are unable to take place. Lynette has a special interest in empowering persons to reach self-efficacy by learning to Dream again. Based in Wilmington, Delaware she's determined to dismantle and eradicate the myths, stigmas and secrets about sexuality and promote open communication.