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Why I co-founded an alliance to combat hair discrimination

Mary Mante, 21, is based in Reading/London. She is the employment and education organiser, and co-founder of the Halo Collective, an alliance of organisations and individuals working to create a future without hair discrimination.

The Halo Collective was set up last year during the summer. It was set up in a response to support those who had suffered from hair discrimination within the workplace on a junior level (internships etc) and most prominently within schools and everyday life.

What impact has the movement had?

We have seen a positive impact within schools.

The workshops we have done have created conversations about what hair discrimination is. We’ve also educated people on how to be allies to people suffering with hair discrimination.

Within the workplace, we have created a change by educating the workforce and creating a more inclusive and welcoming culture for black people to bring their full selves to work. By being safeguarded by the halo code, people are reassured and feel more comfortable wearing their natural hair to work.

When people are themselves, they are more comfortable. This means they are able to perform at their best and contribute more to the workplace.

How can people influence change?

By creating a buzz. Going to the correct people who can really enact that change.

Garnish support. The more people concerned about a cause, the more likely you are to influence a change.

Also, utilise social media. Social media is a great way to solidify your activism as you can connect with like-minded people concerned about your cause.

People can make a change by committing to something they are passionate about changing

What advice would you give someone who wants to make a difference?

Try to seek advice from someone in your field that you are trying to make a change in and get advice.

Also, sometimes just start. Come up with a strategy and marketing campaign that will attract attention.

Do some market research and try to find out who will support your cause. Get in contact with organisations and people. Social media is a great way to start and garnish support.

That’s exactly what I did with Mantivations. I don’t think I was fully ready but sometimes to get fully ready, you just need to start and that’s what I did.

I started to build my platform educating people on mental health, personal and professional development and executed my proper marketing strategies after.

Sometimes things don’t need to be on a straight path or structured. Sometimes you just need to start to get things structured. And that would be my advice – just start.

Mantivations

It is professional career and personal development hub + encouraging platform, connecting young professions as we provide tips and resources to help young people excel in their career and life. We also provide a platform for young people to share their personal and career stories.

We focus on educating people about the importance of prioritisation mental health within the workplace and life and provide strategies and information to help them manage their mental health.
We are also in the process of developing a mentoring scheme for underrepresented students. Matching high level talent of young people to senior professionals in respective career fields, due to launch later this year.
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte Harding
Charlotte is a journalist and the co-founder of The Women's Work Collective.
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