Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Lincoln East High School's home of Spartan news

The Oracle

Cassidy Bell helps to introduce Nebraska Bill 1050

Cassidy+Bell%2C+senior%2C+poses+in+front+of+the+Nebraska+State+Capitol.+Bell+has+always+taken+pride+in+using+her+voice+when+it+comes+to+things+she+is+passionate+in%2C+like+period+poverty.
Photo by Cassidy Bell
Cassidy Bell, senior, poses in front of the Nebraska State Capitol. Bell has always taken pride in using her voice when it comes to things she is passionate in, like period poverty.

Lincoln East senior Cassidy Bell took part in pushing for the state Legislature to consider LB 1050 throughout 2023. This bill would require all Nebraska schools to provide a variety of menstrual products in half of all restrooms. The state of Nebraska will cover 40% of the costs to hopefully encourage schools to follow through.

Motivation from former East student Annika Bostrom’s passion project in Women’s Literature, as well as the Feminist Club at school, kickstarted this passion for Bell. She started with lobbying at East High School before moving to the LPS school board. After seeing progress there, she decided to head to the Legislature on her own. Senator Conrad and the Nebraska Menstrual Equity Coalition have been a tremendous help in moving the bill closer to being considered.

“Nobody thinks that in an affluent neighborhood with people that are generally above the poverty line that there would be period poverty happening,” Bell said. “It’s just because of stigma and the way people have ignored the issue for so long that they have inadvertently put a lot of girls in a situation where they can’t access products.”

The project started at East last year when the school required every women’s restroom to have period products at all times for students to use for free. Eventually, other LPS high school’s, including Lincoln High and Lincoln Southeast, started to follow the movement. Bell loved hearing the encouraging feedback from the female students around Lincoln, that these free and accessible products have helped alleviate stress that comes along with having periods at school.

“We’re not represented in any way in the Legislature and we live in a world that’s changing really quickly,” Bell said. “Twenty years ago women wouldn’t have even talked about menstrual cycles and products the way we do now.”

By seeing all of the progression and hearing all of the positive feedback from the students in Lincoln, Bell was fueled to keep climbing the ladder to get this bill passed. Since a lot of people appreciate her work and it seems to her to be common sense that women and girls have access to this, she has no plan of stopping this project until it is finished.

“Students and young people are the future and their ideas and perspectives are essential in guiding the country and communities we want in the future,” Ms. Dutton, teacher and sponsor of Lincoln East Feminist Club, said. “Cassidy has been essential in moving our feminist club passions to becoming a bill. She is fearless when it comes to talking with senators and has an intuition about politics.”

The final steps to take for this bill to be passed include a lot of publicity on the issue, reaching out to senators, and just getting people to talk about it and post things on social media regarding the bill. Every voice matters and this is just one way that Bell has made an impact on something big.

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About the Contributor
Ava Heminger, Staff Writer
Senior Ava Heminger is starting her second year as a member of the Oracle staff. While she originally joined The Oracle to get more involved at school and to explore her affinity for writing in a new way, she has stayed for the relationships and sense of community that being a part of the school newspaper has brought her. When she is not at school, Ava enjoys spending time with her friends and family, visiting small town coffee shops, and searching for the perfect vintage record or antique. Ava shares her talents with the East student body through student council, and is looking forward to bringing her signature energy and enthusiasm to her senior year.

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