Updated: May 26, 2021
Women in Training, Inc. kicked off Menstrual Hygiene Week with a two-part festivity on Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Tuskegee, Alabama, one of the most underserved rural communities in the nation. The festivities were sponsored by the Black Women’s Health Imperative, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for health equality for all Black women and girls. The Positive Period Festival was held at the Tuskegee City Square and the Moon Celebration at Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace.
BWHI provided almost 700 packs of unscented and chlorine-free sanitary pads to give away at the Positive Period Festival. WIT volunteers packed WITKITS that included the BWHI pads, unscented soap, deodorant, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, shampoo, conditioner, hair cream, a pair of socks and a handmade bracelet with a butterfly charm and an empowering word, such as love, health, wisdom or peace. Junior League of Montgomery members helped to collect some of the hygiene items. Teenagers from the BRIDGES Girls Home were special guests at the Positive Period Festival. The talented Chloe from The Secretary of Sound provided uplifting music by Black women artists to create a positive vibration. Dr. Stephanie McCorvey and Dr. LaKeshia Thomas of the WIT Board expertly managed the Positive Period Festival, with support from City of Tuskegee Councilwoman Norma (Iyabode) McGowan Jackson.
WIT distributed WITKITS left over from the Positive Period Festival to underserved girls and women at the Salvation Army of Montgomery, Common Ground Montgomery, That’s My Child, Brantwood Children’s Home, Aid to Inmate Mothers, New Beginnings Educational Center and Reality and Truth Ministries. Volunteers from Common Ground Montgomery generously delivered the WITKITS to each location on May 24 and 25, 2021.
The Menstrual Hygiene Week festivities culminated with the Moon Celebration under the stars and full moon and surrounded by the woods at the expansive acreage of Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace. The purpose of the Moon Celebration was to celebrate the menses of middle school girls in the WIT Rites of Passage Circle. The seven brilliant “Daughters” learned African dances and polyrhythmic drumming sounds from Omelika Kuumba, Dance Performance and Choreography instructor at Spelman College, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) for women students. Her protege, Sparkle, a rising senior at Spelman, guided the girls in each of the complex dance steps.
“When the Daughters went on stage to demonstrate their learning, I completely broke out in tears,” said Adeyela Albury Bennett, CEO of Women in Training, Inc. “Girls, who just a few months ago were shy and reticent on Zoom, were now graceful, vibrant and powerful as they danced with flair and confidently played the djembe drums.”
The Moon Celebration was managed by WIT with overwhelming support from the Nature’s Garden for Victory and Peace Sister Circle Collective.