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Interview with Mia Medic from Bleed the North

Mia Medic is a high school senior from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) (specifically Vaughan, Ontario), where her organization Bleed the North currently operates. Mia is the head of Bleed the North’s advocacy team and the co-head of National Period Day, which is the main project that she and the team have been working on in the past 6 months. Her interests lie in social justice and politics.

What is Bleed the North?

Bleed the North is a federally registered non-profit organization that operates in the Greater Toronto Area fighting period poverty and period stigma. Below, Mia explains her motivations in joining the organization:

I joined back in April because I didn’t see many non-profits that were fighting period poverty or period stigma or even opening up the conversation about menstruation. [As a result], it was something that I really wanted to be a part of [knowing that there was] a lack of discussion around menstruation and how it was seen as a really ‘taboo’ topic.”

(Image is courtesy of Bleed the Norths Linkedin page)

Bleed the North has three main pillars: education, advocacy, and service. Mia leads the advocacy team. Together, she and her team have been working hard on projects aiming to make period products more accessible through policy and legislation. Specifically, their main project right now is providing period products in schools in Ontario: “We will pick up the pace after National Period Day as we try to get in contact with politicians as well as student trustees to mobilize this, making period products in schools accessible to students for free.” In terms of service, Bleed the North constantly provides period products to shelters across Toronto and the GTA. “Actually, we’ve had period product drives at certain schools in Durham Region, Toronto, and North York [with our members],” Mia explains when asked how they collect their products. They are also planning a proper drive-in, drop-off style drive in North York, approximately a week from when this article is written. The non-profit has amassed over 900 followers on Instagram at www.instagram.com/bleedthenorth/, where followers can contribute by requesting boxes at their school and donating to Bleed the North.

National Period Day

Bleed the North’s biggest project to date is Canadian National Period Day (specifically the week of action), running from November 2nd to 9th. November 7th marks the first youth-led Canadian National Period Day. “I’m super excited for this event; we all are,” Mia says, a smile clear in her voice. The week is filled with webinars, interactive events, networking sessions, and speakers following specific themes.

  1. Nov 2 - Opening ceremony

  2. Nov 3 - Service Day (learn to make a period pack, donate to shelters, support Bleed the North)

  3. Nov 4 - Social Justice Day (discussing allyship, how to be an activist, focusing on more than menstruation)

  4. Nov 5 - Education Day (education webinars about menstruation and menstruation-related diseases that aren’t talked about enough)

  5. Nov 6 - Menstruation Celebration Day (relaxing and getting to know other participants through discussion and movies)

  6. Nov 7 - National Period Day (rally, taking photos for social media, sending emails, mass demand for a change)

  7. Nov 8 - Advocacy Day “my baby” (how to get involved and step up advocacy, how to email politicians, how to step it up, breaking down the walls to advocacy)

  8. Nov 9 - Art Day (spotlighting artists and how art empowers them)

You can learn more about the event at www.instagram.com/bleedthenorth/ and register at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/national-period-day-week-of-action-tickets-119918999957 (takes 1 minute)!

It’s clear that Mia has a great passion and love for what she does. “I think it’s really cheesy but I met a lot of friends, really close friends because I’ve been working with them since April, so you really do get to know people. I think another big thing is growing together and going through all the hardships together because Canadian National Period Day is a lot of work. Advocacy and activism can be frustrating, and emailing politicians can be too. There are failures and there are roadblocks, but being able to get through them together really creates this sense of family.”

The importance of Bleed the North’s work

Period poverty is actually a huge issue in Canada, but goes unrecognized and undiscussed. Mia recalls a situation where, “a couple of months ago, while I was advocating for period poverty on my Instagram, someone sent me a DM and said, ‘Is this actually an issue? Do people not have access to tampons? Do politicians not want to provide free tampons?’ and they actually wanted to know. They were truly unaware that period products are not accessible while, in fact, 1 out of 3 menstruators in Canada under the age of 25 struggle to afford period products every month. One. Third.”

She goes on to explain that period poverty and period stigma go hand in hand. Oftentimes, menstruators feel and actively avoid the stigma by worrying about taking out products in the bathroom and not talking to their parents/friends/non-menstruators. This, in turn, leads to people feeling like they cannot ask for help when they need it to buy products.

This is why Bleed the North’s work has been incredibly important in the community. To help their cause, Mia suggests:

  1. Signing up for National Period Day

  2. Applying to be a part of Bleed the North’s team: https://forms.gle/BJczN58thRHvv8MX8

  3. DM, filling in the form, and emailing Bleed the North to donate money, products, or period packs (GTA) to be picked up at your doorstep (contactless)

  4. Period packs (11 pads and 7 tampons in a paper pack)

  5. Donating to Bleed the North Chuffed (currently closed)

  6. Talk about menstruation with your family, friends and social media followers! Normalize it.

If you are in need of products, you can also request from https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfCtYiDd7wKBCxO3npTvDNlrlkvTZH1jm4ZksfUkagQ0dWBFQ/viewform?usp=send_form (GTA). 

Featured image is courtesy of Everyday Health

Article author: Linda Duong

Article editors: Sherilyn Wen, Victoria Huang