Friday, December 25, 2015

U.S. Marine Corps Honors Diversity of Textured Hair

“For some, this change is culturally liberating, has financial benefits,
and is simply convenient.” ~Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright, U.S. Marine
(Photo: Cpl. Kirstin Merrimarahajara/Marine Corps)

The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) updated its hair regulations recently to include Locks (Dreadlocks/Sisterlocks®) and Twists (Two Strand Twists/Flat Twists).  The final approval was given by General Robert B. Neller (37th Commandant, USMC) once the results of Uniform Board 214 and 215  was announced.

This trail blazing change and addition of primary natural hair styles worn by African American Women to the grooming standards shows the military leaders of the USMC listened to their 'Natural Hair Troops' concerns.   

Be that as it may, if it had not been for Staff Sgt. Cherie Wright’s “perseverance and determination” with submitting proposals and doing presentations, this hairstyle policy would have never been reviewed again.

Unlike the U.S.Army AR 670-1 ruling on these same hair styles being “Unauthorized and Unprofessional”, Staff Sgt. Wright's diligence to research concrete and supportive information further validated that NATURAL HAIR CAN LOOK PROFESSIONAL AND BE WITHIN STANDARDS thus adhering to the “Uniform Regulations”.

"USMC have demonstrated the 'Value of Honoring Diversity' in hair texture by including LocsTwists in their Female Grooming Standards & Regulations!" 
~Miss Pro Natural 
Natural Hair Veteran | U.S. Navy

 Honoring Diversity of Textured Hair


Staff Sgt. Wright said “While briefing Marines, my focus was about awareness and professionalism, Once the information and facts were presented, the perceptions of many Marines changed.”  Change… It Did!  And the conversations and demonstrations she involved her Chain of Command in speaks volumes and attest to the value of being culturally aware of Africa American hair texture and curl pattern/configuration.
The USMC has shown courage by stepping out of their militant box and becoming professionally informed on ‘Natural Hair Care and Maintenance’.  And this was all the results of a paper Staff Sgt. Wright “wrote for a career course in 2014 (which) covered everything from the psychological effects of the previous hair regs on black women to the financial losses they suffered to the challenges they faced when deployed”. 

Knowledge and truth has overcome the personal perceptions of some individuals within the ranks of the USMC as this unprecedented update within their branch of service Grooming Standards to include 'Locks and Twists' in uniform reinforces a statement made by Col. Christain F. Wortman (Uniform Board President) “The Marine Corps works tirelessly every day to get better and to find areas for refinement or improvement".

Having been a former U.S. Navy personnel and understanding the frustrations of being natural in the military, I wholeheartedly can relate to the liberation the Natural Hair Troops of the Marine Corps feel with the inclusion of the additional style options.

These natural hair styles will provide the African American women of the Marine Corps who have chosen to wear their natural hair texture with a variety of low maintenance styling alternatives that are cost efficient, convenient and professional in appearance.  As a Natural Hair Advocate, the NEW HAIR REGULATIONS implemented by the USMC gives me hope in that the other branches of service will soon follow suit and integrate these changes as well.

 Supporting Natural Hair Sisters Who Serve!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Marching On...



Earlier this week, we celebrated and honored Martin Luther King Jr. nationwide...  Many of us attended prayer breakfasts, luncheons, ceremonies, and parades in commemoration of the life and legacy of Dr. King.     

For me, I made it my business to get out and see the movie Selma.  I thought it would be very appropriate and befitting; not only to reverence the day, but also to gleam a much deeper understanding of the events and circumstances that led up to march.

While watching the movie, I felt as if I was there on some level meaning viewing some of the beatings that had taken place then and how you see many of those actions still taking place today with police brutality, the killing of unarmed black men and the mistreatment of a race of people due to the color of their skin and ancestral origin.

It is disheartening and sad to think that we being “Progressive Americans” are still dealing with many of the same issues of times past.  Although we’ve advanced in terms of legislation being put in place to foster equal justice under the law, we seem to not have evolved in consciousness as it relates to how African Americans in this country are view and still treated in various institutions.   

The Glory of Hope

Many are awakening…  As we continue to pursue "The Dream" for every human being, we must be cognizant that “it takes the wisdom of the elders and young people’s energy” working together to break down and dismantle the tricks of the enemy and evil doers.

But nevertheless, there is hope for a glorious future, however we must put feet to our prayers and implement plans that will produce change that continuously develop individuals, thus enhancing their personal growth and professional work to create a more "United America." 

Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

Together, we can secure a future that is just for all because collectively we have the power to create transformative change and possess the intelligence to ensure that it’s done in a manner that models righteousness for all citizen no matter “the color of their skin.”  

In continuing “The Dream,” keep Marching On….  For Equal Justice and Fair Treatment of All Human Beings