Barber and Beautician program aims to end crime across New Orleans

A new cohort in New Orleans focuses on ending crime across the city.

The City of New Orleans, alongside Cure Violence New Orleans, launched a program called the ‘Barbers and Beauticians Collective Fellowship.’

It’s an 8-week program teaching barbers and beauticians about conflict resolution.

“We’re identifying individuals in the community that will potentially get shot or shoot somebody based on their risk. We have to be able to come about a strategic plan to intervene in their life,” said Hakim Kashif from Cure Violence NOLA.

Kashif is the supervisor of training for this program. It just launched in March 2021 with about 10 barbers and beauticians from across the city. They are using their influence to show they care beyond the chair.

“It’s excessive, it’s ridiculous, we’re trying to figure out as a whole what to do about it,” said beautician Dorian Baham.

“You don’t have to pick up a gun. There are other options. Life is way more valuable than just killing each other. We have to hold ourselves to a higher standard than just killing each other,” said Chris Womack from Case Closed Barbershop.

They learned how to identify conflict, intervene before it happens and change the social norms.

“What we’re doing, according to research, we found that if we touch every aspect, every part in our city with this type of training, we would reduce shootings and killings overnight. It’s that easy. This is the first time, in America, where barbers and beauticians have ever been trained in conflict-management,” Kashif said.

Womack is calling on other barbers and beauticians to take part in this program to help stop the violence.

“Our instructors call us ‘antibodies.’ Like, we are the antibodies. We’re the ones in the communities, as moles, to try and help redirect the minds of the youth and other people in the community,” Womack said.

Kashif hopes to expand this training to others in the community. The next Barber and Beautician Fellowship is set for August.

Click here to learn more about Cure Violence.

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