OCTOBER 2021 POWER PLAYER
At Power to Decide, we’re committed to uplifting the many individuals on the ground doing the work that matters most. Each month we highlight an individual who is championing the effort to support young people’s reproductive well-being. Check out this month's Power Player profile.
Lynette Medley, M.Ed in Human Sexuality
Founder, CEO, No More Secrets
What work have you done to ensure that all people have the information and access they need to make decisions that align with their intentions and improve their reproductive well-being?
No More Secrets has helped out our community by first opening our organization, which is one of the only comprehensive sexuality awareness organizations in a marginalized community. Our work intentionally debunks myths and dispels stigmas that are engrained in our communities to give people an environment where they can have a realistic conversation around these important topics. Marginalized communities often don’t feel safe and without safety they cannot share their true experiences.
Secondly, we have opened the first menstrual center in Philadelphia. We were already doing this work, but during the pandemic we opened a physical space because of an explosion in demand. Before the pandemic we made about 85 deliveries a week to those in need of menstrual supplies. But that quickly rose to more than 250 deliveries a week. In 14 months, we distributed over 4 million products. We now provide resources, education, referral services, bring awareness of the issue to our community. This is something that doesn’t always happen in BIPOC communities but is so very important.
We are invested in changing narratives and creating a safe space. We crowdfunded because we saw a deficit and wanted to ensure that we could fill it. We believe that you must meet, educate, and uplift people at the start of their journey, before the system leaves. Menstrual justice and rights are very important, and we need to provide support for our communities.
How did you get started in your field? What is your driving force?
How did I get started? I am a Black woman living in America. My driving force has been my own experiences and it has been compounded by the experiences of other Black women around me. I have experienced my voice being shunned or not listened to so many times, especially around issues of my own body. Our society is inherently racist, and it diminishes the experiences of certain people. I wanted to create spaces for people to have authentic experiences and share their story while getting the services that they need.
What advice would you give to someone looking to effect change in the field that you currently work in?
Just do it. People erroneously believe that others will support their idea or their vision. But sometimes it’s not possible for people to see what you see until it comes to life. Don’t click like or make a post but manifest your ideas. Even if your impact is small and you don’t change the world, you could save one or two individuals.
Why should someone care about ensuring that all people—regardless of who they are or where they live—have the information and access they need to live their best life?
Everybody should have the right to reach their full potential with dignity. These are just some of the components necessary to allowing people to like and love themselves. And when they do like and love themselves, they will then do the same for others. It’s a circle. But when a society doesn’t nurture or care for a community and the impacts of those decisions spread to affect other communities in a negative way it shouldn’t be a surprise. Not until everyone has the opportunity to live their best life will we see a positive shift in all communities of people extend their love to their neighbors.