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Last year, companies were put under a microscope in a way they’ve never been before. 2020 brought in a new type of scrutiny, one that has been bubbling for decades and finally burst. And the marginalized BIPOC communities have finally stepped into the light with the biggest and loudest microphone we’ve ever had. This is our time; this is our moment.

In the wake of the George Floyd murder, and the dozens more that both received — and didn’t receive — national media attention, companies were stripped down to expose some glaring realities that have been staring us Black people in the face for far too long: America has a long way to go in breaking the systemic racial inequalities that exist in our nation, and it’s up to us to hold them accountable.

Your Performative Actions Are Over

Many white CEOs looked around their boardroom in what I can only describe as disguised shock as they suddenly realized they had zero Black faces staring back at them. They quickly had their white corporate communications team issue poetically typed statements about doing better. Other brands were slaughtered across social media as millions of people took to the Internet to publicly call out the ones who have failed us for far too long. From their symmetrically curated executive teams, to their staunch white campaigns, brands were dragged through the mud in a way that hasn’t been done before. Sure, BIPOC communities have been calling out brands for years, but this time, CEOs couldn’t hide behind their age-old customer service statements. 2020 resurrected the dinosaurs, and then we demanded accountability.

Companies were left scrambling to make good on their promise to “do better.” But who is holding them accountable? When the dust settles and their D&I boxes are checked with a single Black employee hire, who is infiltrating this racist system that has kept us out? There are many brands who are fundamentally changing their approach to diversity and inclusion, and we see you. But there are others who are flying under the radar with a quick performative social media post, and back to old routines. Sorry, but your CSR’s once-a-year donation to that nonprofit and press release applauding yourselves just won’t cut it anymore.

We Must Demand Accountability

Following the recent Capitol Hill riots, President-elect Joe Biden posted on his social media channels that, “no one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matters protestors yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true. And it’s unacceptable.”

My brothers and sisters, while we finally have an incoming President who sees us after four years of one who built even higher barriers to keep us out, we cannot sit back and expect the work to just get done. I should know. Alongside my daughter, I’ve been putting in the work single handedly for years. My unfunded, unsponsored organization, No More Secrets, continues to do what other corporations with their big budgets won’t touch: period poverty.

We must hold our leaders accountable for their words. Because while I want to believe with every fiber in my being that Biden will be the change this country needs, at the end of the day it could all still be performative. That is why I am challenging this incoming Administration to hear me when I say: I demand menstrual equality, and I will fight until every bleeding female doesn’t have to wake up wondering how to ration between feeding her family and paying for hygiene products.

In America alone, one in five girls have missed school due to a lack of menstrual products, and one in four women struggle to purchase menstrual supplies due to poverty. It must end.

Time is Up.

It’s 2021. How are we still allowing an industry that has been built on profiting from a natural bodily function to continue oppressing marginalized women to live in period poverty? In the communities I serve, why do I still have to answer the question, “how do you expect me to have respect for my body when once a month I have no control and have to sleep around in order to afford pads and tampons?’” A recent Obstetrics & Gynecology study found that two-thirds of low-income women didn’t have the resources to buy menstrual products at some point within the past year.

Show me your company’s diverse board. Show me that for every white male salary, a Black female counterpart is earning penny for penny. For every rising Black content creator that is trying to break through a white dominant field, demand to be compensated equally to that white candidate who has just as many followers but is earning more solely because of their privileged skin. Show me a day when paying for menstrual hygiene products is a thing of the past.

With January signifying National Poverty in America Awareness month, I am urging my fellow BIPOC communities to harness this moment in history. We have waited far too long for this moment to crystallize and there is nothing holding us back now. Our voices, at the deaths of our brothers and sisters, are being heard. Keep shouting, keep marching, keep protesting, because we have just begun to scratch the surface.