The California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (Collaborative) and Black Women for Wellness (BWW) condemn the anti-black racism and violence against customers that took place at New Red Apple Nails Salon in New York and a beauty supply store in Oklahoma in August 2018. As organizations that work in deep connection with nail and hair salon workers as well as the larger Asian and Black community respectively, we know that structural racism pits communities of color against one another. There is a long history of both triumph and tension among our communities where we have come together to address civil rights and inequalities and also where structural oppression through racism, anti-blackness, anti-refugee, and anti-immigrant sentiments have caused deep fractures between our communities. Through our lens, our histories and our shared vision of a just world, we seek to address the complicated relationships between African American and Asian American communities. Our hope is to engage in what we know are uncomfortable and challenging issues and to lean in and move forward to trusted relationships, shared values and focus on the real challenges to our freedom and justice.
The salon industry is uniquely positioned at an intersection where white beauty standards, gender inequities and economic discrimination are experienced by women of color. Our communities are exposed to harsh chemicals in the salons (hair and nail). We suffer the ill effects of that exposure, including reproductive health challenges, cancers and economic injustice. Relationships in the community are still very much transactional, little trust is being built, and the media continues to broadcast impossible beauty standards. And in the case of the salon industry, these impossible beauty and gender standards are set within a backdrop of poor compensation, labor violations, chronic occupational health conditions and issues, and where the safety of personal care products is dictated by the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry themselves.
Black Women for Wellness, the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative as well many other groups have turned our attention to focus on root of the problems. In a time where all of our communities are being attacked, it is even more critical for us to engage in true multi-racial, multi-issue conversations and collaborations. We believe that salon owners have a responsibility to ensure workplace safety, including addressing instances of worker-customer miscommunication and conflict, de-escalating any tensions, and ensuring a professional workplace environment for all. We believe that both consumers and workers should have dignity in safe and healthy salons in their communities. We believe that a divide and conquer mentality that fuels our community’s animosity against each other will not undo structural racism and white supremacy, nor will it foster the economic well-being and reproductive justice that our communities deserve. We call for inclusion, equity, and justice for immigrant, refugee, Asian, Black and all communities of color in this workforce and in our communities overall.
We are also committed to initiating community dialogues that foster respect, counter anti-black, anti-immigrant / anti-refugee discrimination, as well as a stop exploitation at the salon at all levels. We will continue to come together to challenge toxic chemicals in products, and toxic behaviors at salons.
Black Women for Wellness
California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
Janette Robinson Flint, Black Women for Wellness, firstname.lastname@example.org and/ or 323-290-5955
Lisa Fu, California Health Nail Salon Collaborative, email@example.com and/ or 310-403-5879