I had a particularly hard time figuring out what I was going to do for my activist project; I had so much to juggle on a daily basis that I thought “how was I suppose to find time in between to do any type of activism?”. While everyone in class was talking about their planned activist projects, I sat there and fiddled with my long hair as I usually did and the idea hit me: why not donate my long hair? I had watched a video in my previous class where little girls who were undergoing chemotherapy treatments had received free wigs under the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign made from the donated hair. As soon as they received the wigs, their faces instantly brighten up and were constantly smiling. I realized right then and there that supporting others who are under unfortunate circumstances and helping boost their self-esteem is a type of activism to me. If donating my hair helps women transition into feeling beautiful and empowered, then that is something I want to be a part of. I researched the Pantene Beautiful Lengths website and noticed that they had a page specifically for people who would like to plan an event to donate hair with a large group of people. I immediately knew I wanted to plan a hair-cutting and donating event on campus for my activist project but I was not aware of how difficult it was going to be.
I printed out a few flyers and posted some on campus but I didn’t realize that many other event flyers were going to be posted right on top of mines so I didn’t receive as much attention as I wanted for the event. I then posted the event on myumbc but I also was bombarded by other events taking place so my event kind of went unheard. Although many people on campus were not able to attend the event, I had many friends from back home who thankfully attended the event. I began feeling like this event was a form of “activism”. I didn’t realize how hard it is to get people to attend an event!
My project has definitely changed from the time I originally submitted my proposal. I also encountered plenty of roadblocks since this was a big project with a short amount of time to prepare for. I kept the idea of donating hair but I had to make a few changes to accommodate the roadblocks I faced. First, I wasn’t able to allocate a location for the event on campus so I was forced to take it off campus, which definitely affected the attendance number. A friend of mines lives in a neighborhood nearby with a community center that is free of charge to all residents so she allowed me to use that for the project. If I could change something, I would definitely changed the way I advertised the event. I know there were many other different ways of advertising the event but I did not deal with the time crunch very well due to the school work and projects I had to do while trying to set this whole event up.
By the time March 27th rolled around, I had close to 20 people texting and calling me, telling me they were definitely attending! It was all so exciting to see everything come together. In the end, the event turned out great and ended up with a batch 25 ponytails, which equates to 12.5 wigs for caner patients. In my opinion, I consider the event as successful because in the end, we achieved the goal of donating hair and we all had fun doing it. It brought us closer as friends and it felt good to support women who did not have the same opportunity to grow hair the same way we did. Those ladies who did not have long enough hair to donate were given the choice to donate money for a free blowout or highlights provided by the same hairdressers. I feel successful knowing that the 8 inches I cut off went to someone who will use it to boost their self-esteem. To me, success means giving your all to achieve your ultimate goal and I believe that this event achieved that goal: help and support women to feel confident and empowered in their own skin.