A section of students and educators in the Caribbean country of the Dominican Republic wore their Afro-hair to school and work on Monday in protest after a student in the eastern region of the country was sent home for donning her natural hair to school, according to Latino Rebels.
The issue of discrimination in the country’s educational institutions, according to Latino Rebels, has been a big issue of discussion over the past couple of weeks. The issue further aggravated after the Ministry of Education’s Director of Gender Equality, Marianela Pinales, was reportedly dismissed after releasing a video campaign in favor of natural hair.
“In the Ministry of Education, no little girl, little boy or grown adult should be discriminated because of their physical appearance,” said Marianela Pinales, according to BET. “We are committed to guaranteeing the equality in identity.”
To highlight the stigma against natural hair, the Cero Discriminación RD organization, in an Instagram post, called on Dominicans to wear their Afro-hair to school and work on Monday.
“Let’s put a stop to racial discrimination, for that reason this Monday April 1, wear your Afro, your natural hair to school or work without fear,” they wrote. “We too have the right to equality.”
Paying heed to their call, some Dominican women and girls unapologetically wore their natural hair to work and school and shared on social media. Take a look at some below:
Afro-hair has had a negative connotation linked to it. Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie underscored this point when she was asked about the reception former First Lady Michelle Obama would have received from voters had she worn her hair natural when her husband was running for president:
It would signify that she is some sort of militant, neo-Black Panther…frightening, angry. And it would somehow signify that she is not mainstream, because we have decided that mainstream hair is hair that sort of falls down. When you have natural hair that is Black, it stands up and it is not really considered mainstream.