The ridiculous notion that natural hair is unruly, unkempt, unacceptable and unprofessional has sadly resulted in some people losing their jobs and several children being disciplined at school. And while it isn’t our job to explain to the world that the way in which our hair grows out of our heads is both beautiful and professional — one teacher in Rome, Italy took it upon herself to do just that.
Alexondra Purnomo teaches first grade to a student body that is made up of predominantly white Italian children. However, one of her newer students is a little Black girl named Sasha, whose natural hair became the center of the class’ biggest lesson this past week.
Sasha usually wears her hair in braids, but this week she came to school without braids and sporting a short, natural style. Sadly her classmates bullied her about the new look and Sasha started to wear a winter hat everyday — all day long — and refused to take it off. But Purnomo wasn’t here for the non-sense and sprang to action. She recounted the story of her swift and successful response via Facebook, writing:
“…we talked about being different and it not mattering. Whether we are short, tall, light skinned, dark skinned, blond, brunette, with or without glasses, boy, girl, braid, bun, sneakers, shoes…”
This lesson in tolerance inspired Sasha to take off her hat. And when she did, Purnomo took it one more beautiful step further.
“She had a little bun on the top of her head. The other teacher and I both put our hair in buns on the top of our heads saying it was the ‘Sasha bun.’ Then one by one, all of the girls (and boys!) wanted their hair in a ‘Sasha bun.’
“We were able to come together as a class and bring a smile to Sasha’s face after a long, tough week. It gave me chills to see 19 kids come together to help one fellow student,” Purnomo explained.
We’ve got chills too. What a touching reminder of how we can empower each other to see the beauty in others.