In today's society, appearances play a big role in developing a first impression. Hair is one of a person's most malleable and ever-changing features, and if proper care is unaffordable, self-esteem and self-image can be negatively affected. Hair care products for people of color are exponentially more expensive than products for those with straight hair, which makes them less attainable for those who struggle financially.
For this reason, Seton Hall's Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) is partnering with the student organization H.A.I.R. (Having Appreciation in Realness) on a drive aimed at providing hair care products for disadvantaged people of color. From January 27 through the month of February, the drive will collect basic necessities such as combs, hair ties and hair oils; shea moisture products; and monetary donations. Visit the DOVE Hair Drive webpage for more information about how to donate.
One reason for the importance of this drive is that Newark is included on the list of New Jersey's poorest cities. When those who live in these areas are focused on paying bills and obtaining the items needed for their families to survive, hair care products are not as much of a priority. Personal appearance is vital, not only for positive self-esteem, but also for opportunities such as job interviews, legal appearances, and investment meetings, all of which allow people struggling with financial insecurity to get back on their feet. Having these resources for proper hair care can make an enormous difference in their lives.
"As a woman of color, learning to love, appreciate and take care of my hair has been a journey of learning to love, appreciate and take care of myself," says Trina Beckwith, Class of 2024. Akaysha Palmer, Class of 2022 and founding president of H.A.I.R., adds, "No matter what type of hair we have or what style it may be, it's beautiful for what it is."
H.A.I.R. serves to create a natural hair community within the Seton Hall University campus, promoting individual self-care and overall wellness of individuals. With programs and fundraisers promoting diversity and inclusion, H.A.I.R. focuses on the empowerment of individuals through the promotion of natural hair care. The mission of H.A.I.R. is to create a safe space within the natural hair community, where one can learn more about, care for, and appreciate their natural hair.
The Campus Ministry Division of Volunteer Efforts is one aspect of Seton Hall University's response to the ongoing call for social justice. DOVE seeks to aid Seton Hall University in its commitment to graduate not only well educated professionals, but also compassionate individuals rooted in and guided by faith and its expression in firm moral convictions. DOVE encourages all members of the Seton Hall community, regardless of faith or service background, to get involved. While DOVE's regular programming is currently on hold due to social distancing protocols, there are a number of digital volunteer opportunities being offered throughout the year.