Women are chatting about all sorts of issues in salons, but we're not talking about spots where you can get your hair cut and colored. Glynda Carr and Kimberly Peeler-Allen of Higher Heights for America (which they founded in 2011) are organizing social gatherings where intellectual conversations and cultural discussions ensue--the kinds of salons that have been held for centuries.
(Above, a 17th-century women's salon)
Higher Heights creates environments that empower women of color by making them more socially and political active. So far, there have been Higher Heights salons held in New York, Washington D.C., and Massachusetts. There, feminist women of color have an open forum to discuss the issues they face every day, and to seek out solutions.
Peeler-Allen has worked in politics for 10 years, and noticed that there weren’t many African-American women working alongside her. Now, the mission statement of her organization is “to elevate Black women’s voices to shape and advance progressive policies and politics.” “In two years, we’d love to be able to say that we’ve helped X amount of women who are City Council members,” Peeler-Allen says.
Held at Peeler-Allen and Carr's friends' homes, Higher Heights salons consist of 40 to 50 women in a large conversation addressing issues such as reproductive rights, politics, or common health problems. The group is then broken up into smaller units, in which women are encouraged to work out their own personal issues with the help of others. Surprisingly, Peeler-Allen says, a lot of the women share similar concerns.
“We had a salon not too long ago and the oldest person was in her 70s and the youngest just graduated from college,” said Peeler-Allen. Pretty inspiring stuff. Have you ever participated in a salon? Would you consider hosting one of your own?
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.