Happy belated Summer Solstice!
We are happy, a little sad, and proud to say that the 2015 tour has concluded! Both Sarah and Ruby are back to work in NYC, Rachel H is working at a summer camp in Vermont, Olive is working at a camp in California, Rosie has returned Down Under where she is applying what she learnt on tour to her work with Sustainable Menstruation Australia (www.sustainablemenstruationaustralia.com.au), and Rachel S. is in Boston planning her next adventure.
The last week of our tour from NYC to Boston were some of our best and strongest days. We hustled hard, completing the 300 mile journey in 5 days’ time. As we headed north we got to bike through some New England beach towns. We were near the ocean for much of the week, and got to ride through beautiful salt marshes and forests. After a 77 mile day that ended just before a rainstorm hit, we were hosted by an amazing Warmshowers host named David who generously took in all 6 of us. He regaled us with stories about his bike tour from England to Israel and fed us a veritable feast that included freshly caught trout.
We then traveled to New London for our last official workshop at Fiddleheads Food Co-op. We felt incredibly welcomed by the community, and their employees even took us home for the night. Next was the long, but exciting last leg to Boston. Although the weather was unseasonably chilly and rainy, our spirits were up and we were feeling sentimental about our last few days on tour.
WOW! WE DID IT.
Our trip concluded in Boston on June 3rd. We got a great surprise when Ruby’s mother arranged for a police escort for the last three miles of the tour. The streets of Melrose, MA shut down, and we were welcomed warmly by enthusiastic bystanders! We were overwhelmed by joy and gratitude at having completed our journey safely, and we ended the evening with a “make your own baked potato” bar-– this was a highlight of the day!
On June 4th we made our way to the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research Conference. We were so happy and relieved to have arrived at our final destination and the mecca for menstrual activism. The Society gave us many platforms to share our stories, including a morning panel, afternoon workshop, and evening potluck. It felt great to have our work be recognized and valued by other activists, scholars, and researchers. Individually, we all found the conference itself to be life changing. Key note speaker Loretta Ross spoke about her Reproductive Rights model, and opened our eyes to the many social, political, socioeconomic factors that effect women’s reproductive rights daily. Jax from the Menstrual Activist Research Collective (M.A.R.C) led an eloquent discussion about the importance of “queering” menstruation, and the implications of our language when discussing periods. Lisa Leger from Justisse enlightened us about the Fertility Awareness Method of birth control, which was inspiring enough to have Ruby looking into a possible career shift! WASH United presented a global perspective, and reminded us about the basic needs that are not being provided to women all around the world, including clean water and the privacy needed to change a menstrual product. We were all touched by ceremonialist Giuliana Serena, who gave a heartfelt workshop about rites of passage with her organization Moon Time Rising, and gave permission for each attendee to use the space to facilitate their own rite of passage about issues ranging from menarche, to menopause, to abortions. We left the workshop with teary eyes, and full hearts.
All in all the conference was life affirming, and reminded us of the great importance of this work to our community, and world!
And our work continues!
Sarah W. was able to present on a guest panel for the “Unmentionables Film Festival” in NYC. Again, another opportunity to share stories from our journey, and meet other inspiring activists, including a woman who teaches therapeutic double dutch, and two 16 year–old, up–and–coming film makers who had their movie, “A Girls Rite” featured at the festival.
Although our 2015 tour has ended, Sustainable Cycles continues to grow and gain momentum. We feel that we are at the cusp of a menstrual revolution, and we are deeply grateful that we (and you!) are a part of that revolution. Stay tuned for more updates as we enter the next chapter of Sustainable Cycles post 2015 tour.