I am not a Scientist. I am the President of The Concerned Beauty and Barber Professionals and the Senior Advocate of Politics Beauty Barber and this was my first Citizen Science Conference. (That's me in the lower right corner of the picture.) Along with advocates and activist from around the country, I was awarded the CitSci2019 National Science Foundation Environmental Justice Scholarship. I was awarded the scholarship to share the health, safety and environmental issues that plague the beauty and barber industry. As professionals, we know the ongoing threat of spreading communicable diseases with providing personal services. We know the air in our salons and barbershops is full of toxic chemicals. With all the misting, spraying, blow-drying and flat-ironing, we are exposing ourselves and our clients to combinations of chemicals with every service.
I was excited to participate in the CitSci2019 Conference but honestly, I didn't know what to expect. (I made a commitment to myself to not make any assumptions.) I arrived in Raleigh on Tuesday evening and without going through every detail of the conference, I left Raleigh on Sunday morning feeling very hopeful. On my drive back to Atlanta, I thought a lot about my participation and the beauty and barber industry's place in the Citizen Science Association. I am hopeful that our industry's involvement will offer access to a network of science and public health support. The scholarship gave me the opportunity to share our industry's health issues with a large poster and many conversation and talks. I also participated in a session on policy and practices that I believe will be useful for members of The Concerned Beauty and Barber Professionals/Politics Beauty and Barber.
I am excited about the short and long-term collaboration and networking possibilities this will garner for our industry. Everyone I met was friendly and inviting and I am happy that I had no expectations or made no assumptions prior to participating. Many were very interested in our industry issues. So, to answer the question about what could this mean for our industry? I am hopeful that we have found a place where we could address our industry issues with a scientific data driven approach. I am hopeful that we could do some great work with the Citizen Science community and I look forward to the next conference.