The first lady of New York City wrote a poem about tampons. It's wonderful.

Periods happen. It's a fact of life. About every 28 days, people of childbearing age with uteruses get their periods.

It's a beautiful process of biological renewal: The uterus cleans itself in anticipation of a possible future baby, and women everywhere who get caught off guard by the arrival of their monthly visitor can experience the unique joy of asking strangers in public bathrooms if they have an extra tampon.

Very recently lawmakers have started to acknowledge that helping people manage this time with grace and ease is a wonderful — and long overdue — thing to do.


Last summer, the government of Canada agreed to stop taxing tampons, pads, and menstrual cups. In mid-March, the Chicago City Council voted unanimously to stop its tax on all feminine products and reclassify them as medical necessities. And in New York City, a brand-new bill will supply girls in 25 schools with free tampons and pads, plus give free menstrual products to female-bodied prisoners in homeless shelters and city jails.

The first lady of New York City, Chirlane McCray, was very excited about that last bill. An accomplished poet, she channelled her enthusiasm about it into a delightful poem titled "Tampons for All," which she shared in a series of tweets.

McCray's ode to tampons — and its message — are so great, but Twitter moves on quickly and these tweets should not be forgotten.

So here it is, in all it's tampon-y glory:

If you're inspired by McCray's words, let her know on Twitter. And if you're a resident of one of the majority of U.S. states that still tax menstrual products, maybe it's worth sharing this with your lawmakers as well.

The difference between a politician and a public servant may be a matter of semantics, but when it comes to getting legislation passed that actually helps people, the contrast is stark.

Texas Representative James Talarico is on a mission to get his constituents the life-saving medicine they need. The 31-year-old lawmaker has just introduced legislation that would cap the price of insulin—a medicine people with type 1 diabetes need to live, which has become unaffordable for many—at $50 a month.

The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

"In May 2018, I was a healthy 28-year-old running for the Texas House. I decided to walk the entire length of my district and hold town halls along the way. I hike Big Bend every year, so I wasn't concerned about a 25 mile walk...

But halfway through the walk, I began feeling nauseous and fatigued. Before the town hall in Hutto, I vomited in the bathroom."

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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