YAFE Petition: An Interview with Neha Mokashi



There are many diverse and empowered groups of students at James Clemens High School, but people at JC are often unaware of their hard work and effort. To increase public awareness of happenings at JC, I interviewed Neha Mokashi, a member of the YAFE Executive Council.

Hi, Neha! Tell us a little bit about your experience with YAFE, and what YAFE represents.

Of course! My name is Neha Mokashi. Ange Long and I are cofounders of the Young Advocates for Equality organization here at JCHS, which is sponsored by Ms. Lee in Room A116. The rest of our Executive Council includes Vice President of Public Relations Avery Williams, Vice President of Service Madison Werkheiser, Secretary Raveena Baskaran, Treasurer Olivia Blanton, as well as Historian and Blog Director Sarah Hakim. We began this club as a social justice and advocacy group based on discussion, service, and action. Ange and I are members of a national organization called Advocates for Youth, which centers around supporting student groups that strive to improve their own campuses. That organization trained us and helped fund the YAFE campaign. Talking to the President of YAFE at Bob Jones High School inspired me to spread awareness and form an outlet for students at JC.

Your club began a petition this year for Free Menstrual Hygiene Products, which is actually the main reason for this interview. Can you elaborate on what the petition is for and how it can benefit students at James Clemens?

This school year, YAFE began a petition for free menstrual hygiene products in bathrooms at JC. We are actually hoping to put products such as pads and tampons inside dispensers within bathrooms because these products are necessary for many students and faculty members. We know that these products are not amenities; they are medical necessities that allow students to attend school. Free menstrual products are currently offered to students who visit the school nurse, but YAFE recognizes that students will be more comfortable going directly to the bathrooms, especially because they will miss less time in class.

Collecting signatures with this petition is just the first step. At our next meeting, we will take the next step to assess our options, particularly fundraising.

Right now, the petition is attempting to show that the majority of the student body and the staff are interested in a united front for this project. The print on the Google Form specifies that we still need to prove our interest to Dr. Clayton before we advance.

That sounds great! How can students and staff at JC help?

Please go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd13y5isH_SnQAWR9ccNbHbKkdzGD566NOH9NjiozPZvaWvHg/viewform, fill out your name, record whether you are a student or staff member, and submit! Also, spread the word to your friends, teachers, and JC staff.

So we can get a better idea of the work done by YAFE, would you describe a YAFE initiative that did not garner enough support?

A collective Notice and Comment on Title IX is another project in which we tried to impact changes in legislation, but unfortunately we did not have adequate resources for that. In the future, we will work towards engaging more students in conversation about actions taken by our club. We are very inclusive; even students who are not members of YAFE may participate in our endeavors and aid our cause.

Thank you for this information! Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

Please sign the petition; even if you would not benefit directly from this service, it will definitely have a positive impact on the larger community. Don’t hesitate to help people in our community, including yourself, by advocating for your beliefs through your deeds. Thank you!


Questions? Leave them in the comments below.