Resilience: What I am doing right now

Resilience is one of my favorite words.

I feel like it’s the one word that defines me to my core, and like my hair, resilience is one of those beautiful things I inherited from my ancestors.

This word to me is equivalent to hope, and I wanted to share this with you because I know many of us are feeling hopeless, angry, and heartbroken.

A message from my heart

I waited a few days to write this because I needed to disconnect from social media, from the news, and reconnect with that source of power that keeps me going every day, my resilience.

I turned to the Ted Talk my late professor, father figure, mentor, and friend, Reverend Charles Rice left us with, you can see it here. I used to call him every time I felt uneasy by the racial climate in our country and he always knew what to say. He started this speech by quoting the song below.

I don’t know how my mother walked her trouble down

I don’t know how my father stood his ground

I don’t know how my people survive slavery

I do remember, that’s why I believe

I Remember, I believe by Bernice Johnson

We must all do our part

When innocent people like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, are brutally killed in the hands of police, it only turns on a bright light on the plight of the black people of this country.

We do the work we do with Miss Rizos because we recognized that institutionalized racism has seeped into every establishment in this country: health, education, banking, you name it, and inequality and injustice plague it.

So, what do we do? How do we deal with this? Where do we turn? I want to share my thoughts on this from the perspective of being an activist for 20 years, organizing and working in the nonprofit world for over 10 years, but most importantly, from a humble heart that is full of resilience.

5 tips to boost your resilience in difficult times

1. Take care of your mental sanity. Self-preservation is important. You can’t just jump onto the next bandwagon, watch every post on Instagram, watch the news all day, and consume whatever the outside is recounting about the situation. DISCONNECT SO THAT YOU CAN RECHARGE AND RESTORE.

2. Figure out where you can be of help while honoring your body, mental sanity, and soul. If you are called to protest, GO! If you have money, DONATE! If you can organize in your community, do that. If you can educate others, do it.

We will leave a list of resources that can help you navigate some of these actions below. Post or don’t post on social media. An online post will not determine your commitment to the cause and the mere thought of this completely minimizes a movement of more than 400 years.

3. Think long term and the bigger picture. I understand that we can’t lose momentum and please pay attention when I tell you that MAJOR SHIFTS will happen now, but we must understand that the real change will take some time and it will need us.

We can’t disconnect and cease our participation in the fight for justice. Once the news stops talking about it, once the protest comes to an end, and the social media hashtags and memes are no longer occupying your timeline, we must continue to talk about it, and WE MUST CONTINUE TO ENGAGE AND PARTICIPATE IN CREATING A MORE JUST WORLD.

Again, you might ask how, and this is entirely up to you. You must decide what are your talents and know how, and resources you can give to serve a cause.

4. Don’t shame, judge, or force others into doing any of the above. Many people are grieving, others don’t know what to say. Yes, we have to hold each other and the institutions around us accountable, but please do this mindfully.

Remember that our goal is to get people to join a movement, become active, and fight for justice. So, think about what words and actions you will take to accomplish this.

5. It’s ok to laugh and have joy. JOY IS AN ACT OF RESISTANCE. I am gardening, cooking, and talking to my friends on FaceTime. All of this helps me stay grounded.

 As an individual and as a business, we will continue to donate to bail-out funds and non-profits who are working to dismantle institutionalized racism and discrimination across all fields.

We’ve donated to 1-2 small businesses, organizations, or causes, every week amidst the lockdown. We’ve managed to do this because YOU continue to support us, THANK YOU.

I vow to continue to speak loudly in honor of those who can’t and do everything in power to make sure we are seen, validated, and celebrated.

 I will go down fighting as Rev Rice reminded me. I will continue to fight with every fiber in my body for the eradication of discrimination based on hair, and the empowerment of little black girls and women.

 I have so much more to say and we are currently working on so many different incredible projects, but I’ll leave you with one of my many favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.

 “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

RESOURCES: HERE 

5 Very easy things you can do to help the environment

I decided to share 5 very simple things I do to reduce waste. These tips  make me feel like I am well on my way to becoming more environmentally responsible and hope will motive you to start today.

The other day I saw Isla de Plastico (Island of Plastic) a documentary filmed in the Dominican Republic (you can watch it here), illustrating the insanely problematic plastic phenomenon the country is living. I was so sad when I saw it and simply couldn’t believe how careless we’ve been and how we disregard the current environmental damages we are inflicting on this earth. 

The truth is that after seeing that film, watching the forest fires around the globe, the crazy temperatures due to global warming, and all of the animals we are killing in our oceans, makes me feel hopeless at times and extremely frustrated. After the film however, I realized that I have a platform and I can use it to share 5 very simple things I do to reduce waste.

The truth is that I am FAR from where I want to be regarding this subject. I still have tons to learn and do to minimize my carbon footprint. These tips however, make me feel like I am well on my way to becoming more environmentally responsible.

I also make sure both of my salons recycle and use paper bags.

1. Get a reusable water bottle 

Ideally you can get a tin/metal reusable water bottle, but it’s ok if you like me, got one of those sturdy Nalgene plastic bottles many moons ago. I’ve only purchased 2 of them in my lifetime and the first one lasted me like 10 years and I’ve had the second one for nearly 4 years. I usually always carry around an empty bottle that I can fill up to avoid buying water bottles. The idea is to eliminate these 1 time use plastics that are piling up on our shores.

2. Recycle and/or separate your trash

It’s obvious that we should all be recycling. Most if not all cities in the US have a recycling system. In NYC I recycle paper, metal, glass, and plastic. This is not the reality for most countries though.

In fact, this idea might be completely foreign to someone in the Dominican Republic because of a lack of education and political responsibility. However, if you live in a place where recycling is not common, then SEPARATE YOUR WASTE

Put all of your plastics in one bag, tin/metal/glass in another one, and then your organic waste in another. Believe it or not, there are millions of people around the globe that make a living out of sorting through the trash and selling these materials. So by separating the trash, you’re ensuring that one of these folks won’t have to sort through your rubbish and will easily find what they are looking for.

3. Use reusable straws 

This is such an easy ask. Go to a local store or on amazon and please do me a favor and buy 5-10 metal or glass reusable straws and 2-3 straw cleaners (thin circular brushes). Straws are contaminating our oceans and are really impacting the oceanic creatures. Carry a few on you so that you use them at restaurants or when you’re out.

4. Use reusable totes instead of plastic bags

I have a huge collection of totes of all sizes, colors, and materials. They are so convenient, and it is easier to carry groceries or whatever you get at the mall. The best part is that you’ll avoid using plastic bags, which again are ending up in our oceans. We actually have our totes on sale for just $15 + an additional 15% OFF, you can grab your here.

5. Save your jars/recipients that your food comes in

If you look in my kitchen cabinet, you’ll notice that I have a collection of jars. All of the jars from pasta sauces and other canned goods, I wash and use them as cups. Many of them are actually mason jars and so they’re perfect for salads, soups and many other foods. 

So there you have it, just 5 tiny little itty bitty changes can have a HUGE impact in our environment. You might think that if you’re doing it and you’re just one person it might not have an impact, but it absolutely does. I mean imagine using 1 plastic straw a day for like 70+ years, that’s over 25,000 straws! Plus you’ll inspire your neighbor, your family members and friends. We only have 1 planet earth and we have to take care of it not only for our future generations, but for us right now. 

Grants and Loans for Small Businesses

I packed my bags exactly one year ago and came to New York City with a dream to open Miss Rizos Salon NYC. After so many sacrifices, depleting my savings, and many (many) tears, we opened our doors last October.

Just 5 short months after this day, we find ourselves temporarily closed due to COVID-19. Now I can’t deny that I am completely heartbroken, but I decided that my team and I were going to ride this wave and stay strong.

We’ve been looking for every single grant, loan and opportunity to help keep our business afloat these upcoming months.

Thankfully, we’ve been able to get grace periods for bills, our landlords in both countries have been incredibly understanding and we’ve been able to support our team with the bit of savings we had.

Sadly, a lot of the opportunities we are finding are for businesses that have been operating for more than a year, which is not our case.

We know how daunting and overwhelming these forms can be and so we’re more than happy to help you file any of the applications that we are sharing below, or any other that you’ve found.

We want to do this completely free, of course. Just email us at salonnyc@missrizos.com and we will hop on a Zoom call and get you through your form!

We must stick together during these really tough times. My team and I want to be of service to you and your team. If you hear of anything else, we should add to our list, please share with us via the email provided above.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Spanx Owner The Read Backpack Fund

SheaMoisture Community Commerce  

SBA Loans

KIVA.org Loan

SBA Paycheck Protection Program

Facebook Business

Dozen other grants and opportunities here

NYC.Gov Grants and Loans

Thank you. This too shall pass!

Back to basics: welcome to my blog

Is this even real life? Me on a blog post? In English? It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been on here. Ironically the name of this the bookmark of my blog on my laptop is actually “My Dream Job.” I love writing and though I’ve been writing a ton of reflections and tips on my Instagram, this is different.

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