‘Black Period Project’ provides free menstrual products to girls in need

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The Black Period Project is a small grassroots non-profit organization.

Kerrington Barnes, theScene Editor

The Black Period Project  is a small grassroots non-profit organization seeking to bring awareness to intersectional issues that Black women and trans-men in the Piedmont and triad area.

Founder and junior transportation and supply chain management student Lena Vann, started her non-profit organization, Black Period Project (BPP) in 2018.

The goal of the Black Period Project is to educate women and youth about menstruation while still empowering the community.

BPP has provided hygiene kits for youth centers, schools and homeless shelters. This organization also advocates on a legislative level and creates petitions.

Vann’s goal is to be an advocate for the reduction or elimination of the “Pink Tax.” The Pink Tax is a system of discriminatory pricing on products based on gender, according to Bankrate.

“Right now there is work on getting menstrual hygiene products reclassified from ‘Household Items’ to ‘Personal Care Items,’ Vann said. “In order for menstrual hygiene products to no longer be considered a ‘luxury item,’ they must first be classified as something essential.”

The pandemic has made it hard for many people to have access to resources. Vann explained the hardest obstacle has been receiving donations and getting them to people in need because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It has made us get very creative with the way we reach the populations we serve,”  Vann said. “Typically, we start material needs closets or fund material needs closets at Title I schools and homeless shelters. With everything closing down, especially schools, it has been difficult for us to continue to serve.”

Vann and BPP made sure that they were able to travel to locations to ensure that people received essential products. 

“We’ve been working with schools that hand out lunches and have period kits on hand there,” Vann said. “We try to meet people where they’re at— having volunteers drive around Greensboro and other cities to hand out homeless hygiene kits. Anything we can do to reach people.”

Vann sees the future of BPP expanding across North Carolina and later becoming a national organization. 

“I hope that Black Period Project can continue to expand into a national organization. Our goals for the next year is to establish chapters/teams in every major city in North Carolina, then using these hubs to serve the smaller communities that surround them,” Vann said. “The Fayetteville Chapter will be the hub for the southeast and will support Lumberton, Fairmont, St. Pauls, etc. First out of state location will definitely be Atlanta.” 

Vann is grateful for N.C. A&T community for helping to support her organization. 

“Black Period Project would not be what it is today without the love and support of my Aggie Family,” Vann said. “I hope that our Greensboro chapter can still be mostly composed of A&T students and that BPP can continue to partner with A&T to address this need here in Aggieland.”

Vann calls for N.C. A&T students get involved because the work that gets put back into the community does not go unnoticed.

“We’re experiencing growing pains, trying to get organized, but the work we do is important,” Vann said. “If you’re interested in starting a chapter, want to partner for an event, or know someone who is in need of supplies just feel free to reach out!” 

 Students can reach out to Lena Vann via email, website or social media.