Women Empowering Women, a nonprofit Bloomington organization, is hosting a bra drive, crewneck donation and a body positivity campaign to empower women and nonbinary people in the organization to get involved through hands-on service projects. The bra drive started on March 20 and will end April 3.
The organization started on April 6, 2019, with the goal of making a positive impact on young women and nonbinary people in need in Poseyville, Indiana. Macee Long, founder of WEW, created the organization after she noticed that there were no organizations in Poseyville, her hometown, available for young women to get together and make a difference in the community. She brought WEW to IU her freshman year.
“This chapter is my baby, my passion and my fulfilling project for myself,” Long said. “I hope to turn it into a registered nonprofit when I get into my career.”
The Bra Drive
WEW has teamed up with Independent Council — a social-philanthropic organization for non-greek women and nonbinary people at IU — to host a campus-wide bra drive, she said.
The bra drive supports Free the Girls, a national organization aiming to help women reenter their communities after being sex trafficked. According to Free the Girls, they do this by providing a sustainable path out of poverty through micro-entrepreneurship.
Through bra donations, sex-trafficking survivors can run their own business selling bras in second-hand clothing markets, according to the Free the Girls website. Bras can be sold to women, thus removing the seller from an economic transaction with men, which can be a trigger for women coming from forced commercial sex, according to the website.
Long said that WEW got involved with the bra drive after she joined IC back in 2022. IC had been doing the bra drive in years prior, but the two organizations collaborated for the first time in spring 2022, which resulted in donations over double the previous amount, which was approximately 100 bras.
This semester, the collaboration allows for 10 total collection days, and they have already collected almost 120 bras in just a week, Long said.
“It’s nice to overlap two amazing organizations’ mission statements to create a bigger impact,” Long said.
Collection times and locations are posted on the WEWand IC Instagram pages, which are different every day. However, if a student is unable to make any of the 10 donation times listed, but is looking to donate bras, Long said she is happy to arrange something if they reach out to her or the organization.
Crews for a Cause
The next event, Crews for a Cause, is a fundraiser where Long and her other members sell crewnecks that they handmake. The crewnecks say “Be the good. See the good.” Half of all proceeds go to Save the Children — a humanitarian organization aiming to improve the lives of children worldwide — for their homeless teen initiative.
The Crewnecks are being sold until April 10 on WEW's Instagram.
Pop-up for Body Positivity
The third ongoing event WEW is hosting is Pop-up for Body Positivity, created by Nina Narinthrangura, the vice president of WEW.
Pop-up for Body Positivity allows students across IU to sell their clothing through an Instagram page ran by WEW, Narinthrangura said. Students are free to advertise as many items as they desire on the @4bodypositivity Instagram page, which is run by WEW. Once the items have been sold, the seller pays a flat rate of $2 to WEW.
She said, at the end of the campaign, all the money collected by WEW will be donated to Girls, inc. — an organization focused on educating and supporting girls from ages 5 to 18 — for their body positivity programing.
Narinthrangura said she got involved with WEW her freshman year at IU. She became the director of diversity and inclusion in WEW her second semester at IU and was made vice president this past fall.
“It’s very fulfilling,” she said. “It’s something I stand for and it makes me feel like I am doing something to better the lives of other people.”
Long said WEW plans on having Pop-up for Body Positivity becoming an on-going event.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the story misstated where WEW was started.