This Period Equity Advocate Took Her Platform to Miss Michigan USA, Then the Capitol
Recently, Michigan legislators from both sides of the aisle agreed to end the tampon tax statewide, effectively removing the sales tax on essential items like period products that was costing Michigan menstruators an average of about $7 million a year.
To recap, the "tampon tax" is the general 6% sales tax that is applied to items not deemed "necessities." However, period products are deeply essential and sometimes that tax is the difference between someone being able to afford them or not.
It differs but is closely related to the "pink tax." CLICK HERE for more information.
There were key players in getting the two-part bill (HB 4270 & HB 5267) to cross Governor Gretchen Whitmer's desk but ones that did the grass-roots advocacy deserve some shine too.
Advocates like Michigan's Own Ashley Rapp
I was lucky enough to meet Ashley our first day of orientation as freshmen at Grand Valley State University. She had such an infectious energy and passion and watching her grow her platform has been so incredible.
But take me out of the equation, Rapp is a 25-year-old period equity advocate from Sterling Heights Michigan who graduated from both Grand Valley State University and the University of Michigan.
Here's a look at her journey (with pictures!) through advocacy and taking her platform from her community, all the way to the Miss Michigan USA pageant and the Michigan State Capitol.
Ashley Rapp: Fighting for Period Equity & Winning
How You Can Get Involved Too
Ashley Rapp didn't just walk on up to the capitol and help direct change overnight. It was years of work and she started in a way that some may consider "small", who's to say you can't too?
One of the most immediate ways you can bring awareness and help to those affected by period poverty in your own communities is to hold a menstrual product drive!
Ask anyone and everyone, explain your cause, and have no shame in the period product game! It's not like menstruation is some big secret and is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed, grossed out, or put-off by.
There are people in your communities and all over the world affected by this, even if you change one person's life by providing them the period products they need to be able to function through life, work, school, etc. you have made a difference.
Stories like Ashley's inspire us that there is no topic off-limits and there are also no limits in the ways you can help people in ways that may seem as small as a tampon.
LOOK: What major laws were passed the year you were born?