An Interview with the President of H.A.I.R. (Having Appreciation in Realness)

Akaysha Palmer
President of H.A.I.R.

Tell me a bit more about your organization and its mission.

H.A.I.R. (Having Appreciation in Realness), serves to create a natural hair community within the Seton Hall University campus in which we would provide a safe space for people to come together and feel comfortable with who they are. This would promote individual self-care and overall wellness of individuals. With programs and fundraisers promoting diversity and inclusion, we would focus 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.

How has your organization uplifted/empowered students of color?

Although we are a fairly new organization, I believe that we have provided representation on campus and given students the ability to be comfortable with all aspects of who they are. We hope to continue to have different events that uplift both male and female students with natural hair in the Seton Hall Community this fall as our Spring semester was cut short on campus.

Have recent events changed your perspective on the problems we face as a nation?

Personally, I have always been an activist so seeing the protests in the media have just amplified the way I have felt about the institutional racism that we face in the United States. I believe that although this has been an ongoing issue many people are becoming more aware of the injustice that is occurring and it gives me more hope for the future as people are advocating for change. Seeing all of the protestors around America of different backgrounds and cultures protest really brought tears to my eyes. We should all spread love not, hate and when we say black lives matter, we do not mean that others don’t but just that we have to constantly fight for our lives to matter as we have been oppressed in society, dating back to over 400 years ago.

What can we do to promote racial equity?

I believe students can just try to be educated on the injustices that students face within the black community so that they’re more aware of their implicit bias. It’s important to just constantly be aware of how you approach and interact with different types of people to avoid any messages coming across wrong. I believe education is the first step and essential to getting involved in any movement.

-This interview was conducted by Editor-in-Chief, Jarrett Dang, on behalf of the Editorial Board.

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