In honor of March being Women’s History Month, we’re debuting our “Women and Their WHY” series, showcasing inspiring women who are making positive changes in the world (and who we are totally girl-crushing on daily).
Who she is:
Chelsea VonChaz, a passionate menstrual equity advocate and the Founder of Happy Period.
What she does:
Through her Los Angeles based non-profit, Happy Period, Chelsea and her chapter partners collect period products and distribute them to homeless shelters across the country. Since finding her WHY four years ago, Happy Period has grown into an internationally recognized charity known for uplifting menstruating humans with period kits (comprised of menstrual cups, pads, tampons, and wipes), furthering the movement towards menstrual equity.
What makes her different:
Happy Period was birthed during a period of depression. At the time of its inception, Chelsea was a struggling wardrobe stylist, disconnected from a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment. It was through a chance encounter with a homeless woman that Chelsea found her WHY. That woman’s period stained pants led Chelsea to an aha! moment — one that ultimately took her out of her depression and into her mission.
Chelsea identifies as a healer. By providing access to these much needed products, she helps others reconnect to a part of themselves that has often contributed to excess suffering (finding pads and tampons on the streets is no small feat for example — old socks or paper towels sourced from public restrooms are often used by homeless menstruators). Her WHY is very much about empowering all menstruators in need to have a dignified period. Additionally, Chelsea uses Happy Period’s Instagram account as a platform to educate and inspire her followers to be more connected to their own bodies and to learn how they can support those in need.
For women who think they have a WHY, but are not yet sure of how to move out into the world, Chelsea shares:
“To anyone struggling with uncertainty, accept that none of this is for sure anyways, so you might as well get out of your own way and get to it. If it doesn’t keep you up at night or wake you up in the morning then move on!”
What women does she look up to:
Chelsea shares that Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner (the inventor of the sanitary belt) and Madam CJ Walker (an entrepreneurial innovator in the beauty industry) are women who have — and continue — to impact her life with their legacies. Both of these women were pioneers whom Chelsea believes paved the way for her work with Happy Period.
When reflecting on how she keeps going, despite the stigma and inevitable difficulties a period non-profit must endure, Chelsea shares that she always finds renewed inspiration in her circle, her culture, and her Afrocentricity. To close our conversation, Chelsea offers wisdom from Malcolm X: “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”
And there’s no question in our minds that Happy Period’s mission and chapters bring light to homeless people — one period kit at a time.
Jasmin Jenkins is an intuitive connector and community builder based in Los Angeles. She was most recently the Head of Partnerships at THINX, and is currently consulting with mission driven startups. You can find her at The Class, over The Standard.
Illustration by: Juliet Romano.