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A Dominicana Launched The First Natural Hair Only Salon In Her Country And Now She’s Bringing It To NYC

For Black and Afro-Latina women with tightly curled hair, discrimination is not unusual. For example, the military just barely approved natural hairstyles for their Black female service members back in 2017. Before that, they were only allowed to choose from a hand-full of processed hairstyles. The reason for this was that the organization argued that natural hair was “unprofessional” and did not have a place in the military.

Additionally, it’s still legal in 49 states to discriminate against people based on their natural hair. California only just banned that discriminatory policy back in early July 2019. In the rest of the states, people can be dismissed because of their hair based on dress code regulations.

Obviously, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done in order to stomp out prejudice against Black hair textures and this Dominicana is leading the charge.

Twitter / @janelmwrites

Carolina Contreras — known as Miss Rizos — has made her career providing hair care for Black and Afro-Latina women. Born in the Dominican Republic, Contreras’ start in the hair business began back in 2011 with her blog, “Miss Rizos.” The blog features posts in both English and Spanish about natural hair care and was inspired by the entrepreneur’s own journey towards natural styling.

The popularity of her blog led Contreras to launch a fundraiser that raised more than $10,000. She took those funds along with additional donations and her own savings and invested them into a huge project. In 2014, the entrepreneur opened her first all-natural hair salon in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. While she only began with two employees, the shop — Miss Rizos Salon — now claims twenty employees and sees more than 500 clients each month.

“Once girls leave the salon you can see them skipping,” Contreras explained to BUSTLE. “They’re standing a little taller, they’re swaying their hair side to side … seeing them own their hair and own their power as they’re walking out, and stepping out, it’s just a very beautiful sight to see.”

However, not everyone has embraced natural hair as much as Contreras and her clients have.

Twitter / @RRebeldeBeauty

Racism and colorism are prevalent around the world — even in Contreras’ own Dominican Republic. The country has the largest Black population outside of the African continent and yet, the anti-Black sentiment is seen in several places in DR society. In everything from beauty standards to social approval, Black attributes are looked down on as being undesirable.

In response to this discrimination, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Education released a video to promote positive feelings towards diversity back in March of 2019. In the PSA, different hair textures and skin colors are represented in a scholastic environment. This video is a direct reaction to an incident concerning a DR student named Omara Mia Bell Marte. The child was denied access to her classes after she chopped her hair down to promote her natural hair growth. The refusal to allow the 11-year-old access to class based on her curls is nothing short of racist.

Even Contreras has experienced this kind of racism first hand. She shared with BUSTLE that she herself has been turned away from bars and clubs because of her own curly hair.

Still, the entrepreneur plans to continue her fight against this discrimination. To do so, she’s taking her successful business state-side and opening up an all-natural hair salon in New York City.

Twitter / @mmcavanaugh

Much like before, the new shop is opening thanks to Contreras’ savings and a fundraiser. The donation drive earned over $29,000 before it was closed — almost three times as much as her Santo Domingo shop raised. The new Washington Heights shop is set to open sometime in 2020 and will offer a wide array of services for Contreras’ clients.

Besides offering hair care, the entrepreneur wants to give her clients information.

Contreras personalized customer service is especially impressive because she teaches her clientele how to care for their hair and use different products and methods to get different effects. She also works to build a community around natural hair care so that those who visit her shop have support. She wants all women to know they can look good and feel good with their natural hair.

“A lot of people want to look externally for ways to change the world,” Contreras explained to BUSTLE. “Often times the answer to how we can change the world is how we’re living in the world, and what we are doing with our own time and resources, and our existence in the world and our power. When we’re doing what we love and we’re walking in our truth, and we’re living life in a very purposeful way, we can inspire other people. We can change things. I think that has been my secret formula.”

Here’s to hoping that her new NYC shop leads to more salons all over the country. The world can use more of Miss Rizos’s kind of care.

 
 

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UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

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Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Culture

Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Henry Sadura / Getty Images

Christmas is a special time of year. Families have their traditions to mark the festive year and some of those traditions are rooted in culture. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas.

El Pase Del Niño Viajero – Ecuador

El Pase del Niño Viajero is a pageant that happens in Ecuador that lasts weeks. The parade is meant to represent the journey of Mary and Joseph. The parade highlights the religious importance of Christmas in Ecuador and is most common in the Andean region of the country.

The biggest and most important parade is in Cuenca, a deeply religious city. Citizens near the city have all day to see the parade as it starts in the early morning and runs through the late afternoon. This gives people a lot of time to make it to the city to witness the parade.

La Gritería – Nicaragua

La Gritería comes after La Purisma. La Purisma is celebrated at the end of November and is meant to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. La Gritería is celebrated in early December and involves literal yelling. Someone would shout “Que causa tanta alegria?” (“What causes so much happiness?”) People respond “La Concepción de María.” (“Mary’s Conception.”)

Las Posadas – Mexico

Mexican posadas are the most recognizable. Posadas take place in Mexico from Dec. 16-24, though this year they are most likely to be virtual. The posada begins with a procession in the neighborhood filled with people singing and sometimes led by two people dressed as Mary and Joseph.

Another part is the posada party. Before guests can enter, there is a song exchange with the people outside playing Joseph looking for shelter. The hosts sing the side of the innkeeper saying there is no room. Eventually, the guests are welcomed into the home to celebrate Christmas.

Aguinaldos – Colombia

Aguinaldos are a series of games played by people in Colombia leading up to Christmas. There are certain games that are common among people in Colombia. One is pajita en boca, which requires holding a straw in your mouth the entire time of a social event. Another is dar y no recibir, which is about getting people to take something you are giving to score a point.

El Quema Del Diablo – Guatemala

El quema del diablo is celebrated in early December and is a way of letting go of the previous year. People burn piñatas and effigies of the devil to let go of all negative feelings and moments from the previous year. If there was every to try a new tradition, this would be the year. Burn an effigy and banish 2020 to the past, where it belongs.

READ: These Seriously Sad Christmas Presents Were Worse Than Actual Coal

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