Days after the governor of Georgia announced that he was reopening hair salons and barbershops throughout his state, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had an announcement of her own: A fund to help hairdressers and cosmetologists in her city who have been impacted by the COVID-19 shutdowns.
Her Strength In Beauty Fund was inspired by Bottoms’ own mother, who owned a hair salon for 25 years, and is one way the 50-year-old political leader can help those in need and encourage those to stay home during this deadly pandemic.
“My mom owned a hair salon for nearly 25 years. It was there that I met men and women who changed my life. They believed in me, encouraged me, laughed and even cried with me. I sat in there, day end and day out, knowing that there was a village surrounding me,” she wrote last week on Instagram.
Bottoms added that she started off the fund by donating $10,000 of her own money to encourage others to follow her lead.
“That’s why helping these men and women, who are more than stylists, they are often our counselors, prayer warriors, and confidants is so important to me. Keisha Lance Bottoms for Mayor, Inc. Is kicking off the fund with a $10k donation. I hope that you will join me in standing in the gap for those in need by making a donation at ATLSTRONG.org. #oneatlanta #atlstrong.”
Last Monday, Governor Brian Kemp announced during a press conference that a slew of non-essential businesses such as hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors and gyms will reopen in his state on April 24; while movie theaters and bowling alleys will open on the 27. As we previously reported, Bottoms told WSBTV that not only was she not consulted about Kemp’s strategy, but she learned about it on TV like everyone else.
“I didn’t know it was coming and obviously the governor is the governor and he certainly has the prerogative to make orders that he deems appropriate. He did not consult with me. I don’t know what the reasoning and data that the governor used to make this decision was because I have not spoken with him, but I did not know in advance.”
The second Black female mayor of Atlanta also questioned how safe can one be being so close to someone in these types of settings.
“You get your hair done, I get my hair done. I don’t know how you socially distance when someone is doing your hair or doing your nails, giving you a massage. These things are concerning to me, Bottoms said. “I do hope that I’m wrong and the governor is right. Because if he’s wrong, more people can die.”
In the end, Bottoms wants for people to stay home, no matter what Kemp says.
“We have public health officials, scientists, and experts who are saying that for us to get through this pandemic and for us to get to the other side of this crisis, we have to socially distance,” Bottoms recently told CNN. “What I expect to see is that some people simply will not listen. Some people will go into hair salons and get manicures and pedicures as if it’s business as usual, and I expect that in a couple of weeks, we will see our numbers continue to rise in this state.”
Adding, “Nothing has changed. People are still dying. We’ve got to get money into the pockets of people who are concerned about putting food on their tables and paying their rent. That’s where we should be putting our energy.”
Donate to the Strength in Beauty Fund at ATLSTRONG.org.