In the last few weeks, our S.O.S. intern Angela Wright has begun a new program called "Hair Me Out," an initiative aimed to get barbers and beauticians involved in discussions about putting an end to gun violence. The goal of Hair Me Out is to postively impact the local mentality around gun violence, and to influence people to work towards a safer and more productive community. Angela, who is directing the Hair Me Out program, says she hopes to get people take initiative and do the right thing without being told.
"You may never know what results come of your actions," she said, "but if you do nothing, there will be no results."
So far, Angela and S.O.S. Outreach Worker Derick Scott have visited seven barbershops and one beauty salon, speaking to barbers and beauticians about their role in making the community safer. Angela has come up with a series of questions that are posted on the mirrors and walls in barbershops, along with markers for people to respond. The prompts include questions like, "How can a positive role model make a difference in people's behavior?" or, "What role do you think violence in the media has on violence in our neighborhoods?
Angela reported that sometimes she has difficulty introducing the topic.
"People don't always think there is a problem, they just think this violence is normal," she said. But when she posed the question, "What do you believe causes the anger and hostility that makes people want to grab a gun?" she got many responses, pointing to money, not knowing God, or lack of care for the future or consequences as root causes for violence and anger.
"These questions have caused people to think deeply about the root causes of violence, and gets them to notice that there really is a problem in the community," Angela said. "That is the first step to action."