Grant High School kicks off 'Period Week' on International Women's Day
It's International Women's Day and ladies all over the world are celebrating.
Portlander and now Harvard University freshman Nadya Okamoto today kicked the old name of her organization, Camions of Care, to the curb, debuting a more simple, to-the-point name: "Period. The Menstrual Movement."
The organization, which has gone global since its start in 2014, delivers menstrual hygiene products to women in need, and locally partners with homeless shelters and homeless advocacy organizations such as Rose Haven, Union Gospel Mission, Transition Projects Inc., Sisters of the Road, Street Roots and others.
"We continue to distribute weekly in Portland and (address) about 3,000 periods a month in Portland alone," Okamoto said.
Okamoto's organization has inspired separate chapters in 37 states, driving the menstrual movement mission in many universities and high schools, including Grant High School, which today kicked off "Period Week." That chapter has around 15 members.
There, students have plastered pads with messages all over the school, "and the administration is not happy with it," said senior Nika Bartoo-Smith. She says the administration has taken the pads off the walls.
Bartoo-Smith is working with the school board to get menstrual hygiene products easily accessible in kindergarten through 8th grade middle and high schools.
"The menstrual movement is important because more than half of the population gets or will get a period and yet it's a taboo topic," says Bartoo-Smith. "We must break the stigma and embrace our periods and help others gain access to products."
Catlin Gabel, Okamoto's alma mater, continues to put together care packages for area shelters on a regular basis, and Lincoln High School is also becoming more active and has upcoming fundraiser events, Okamoto said.
Those who don't have access to products face a number of health issues especially when they resort to using things like socks, rags and paper bags as an alternative.
Period. has continued to work on the issue on a bigger scale, including starting a campaign to end the sales tax that 37 states still place on menstrual hygiene products.
See a previous story about Okamoto and her efforts at
To learn more about Okamoto's organization, visit www.period.org.