Saeng-Fah Graham leads De Lune's community education initiatives. She is a Menstrual Doula with a passion for empowering humans through knowledge of their menstrual cycles.
Nadya Okamoto, alongside her co-founder Vincent Forand, co-founded PERIOD. as high school students in 2014 after realizing that menstrual products are not reliably available to those who need them the most. PERIOD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
SF: Equity in access to products, adequate healthcare, information and support is a big issue when it comes to menstrual health, your work moves us forward in this area. Why does menstruation slip through the cracks of our society's priorities?
NO: It slips through the cracks of our priorities because people don’t talk about periods -- thus people don’t know about period poverty and the lack of access to menstrual hygiene for so many people. That is why so much of the work that we do starts with just encouraging people to be comfortable to talk about periods and spreading awareness that period poverty is a big issue that is holding so much potential back.
SF: You’ve run for city council, founded PERIOD., and now written a book all before you are 25! Any advice for young folks looking to self-start, make impact and support their community?
NO: You really just have to do it. I talk about this a lot in my book, Period Power. It all starts with finding what drives you and believing in your ability to make change happen. Put yourself out there, find a mentor, ask questions, take the leap!
SF: PERIOD. is organizing PERIOD CON for this upcoming January in NYC, can you tell us a little more about your vision for that?
NO: We hope that PERIOD CON is a time where we can bring together leaders and activists across all sectors in the Menstrual Movement to create unity around a shared mission towards a more equitable world, starting with menstruation.
SF: Your personal story is really empowering, you managed to turn around abusive relationships, homelessness and the subsequent trauma into joy and passion. Is there some advice you can give to those who have or are struggling through depression, PTSD or something of the like?
NO: I would say, find support. As much as I hated therapy while I had to do it, I am so grateful that my mom pushed me to go because I needed it to heal so I could do the work that I do now.
SF: What’s one thing you’ve learned about periods that you find really incredible?
NO: Incredible, but not in a positive way -- learning about endometriosis and how prevalent it is. Check out Chapter 1 of my book to learn more.
SF: Who do you draw inspiration from in your daily life?
NO: I am constantly inspired by our chapter leaders! So inspired by their passion for this movement and the difference that they are making in their local communities.
SF: Tell us one big dream you have for period equity.
NO: REPEAL THE TAMPON TAX UNIVERSALLY - 35 more states to go in the US.
SF: What are your thoughts on the #periodpositive movement happening right now, and what does period positivity really mean to you?
NO: Period positivity means thinking about menstruation as NATURAL. Not shameful, not dirty...natural.
SF: What is one way that those who don’t menstruate can support those who do?
NO: Talk about it in a way that is not uncomfortable, but just like it’s a natural need. Break the stigma, start conversations, spread awareness about the need to be more respectful of menstruation as a natural part of human life.
You can help fight period stigma and eliminate the tampon tax today by starting or joining a PERIOD. chapter. Or, by donating just $2, you can cover an entire menstrual cycle through giving period products directly to those that need them. Join De Lune in supporting PERIOD. and fighting period poverty worldwide.