CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As Black History Month winds down, conversations about minority issues in Charlotte are just revving up.
Queens University of Charlotte's Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement (DICE) is set to host a "Barbershop Talk" on Monday.
Members of Charlotte's Black community and business professionals will join male students of color in the DICE Lounge located on the lower level of Dana Hall to engage in conversations about issues impacting minority communities while receiving free haircuts from local licensed barbers, according to a release.
"We first did this in February of 2020, just before the pandemic and it was so well received, many students have been asking for its return," Darryl White Sr., assistant dean for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, said.
White said his inspiration for the program came from his own experiences visiting barbershops and talking about the issues of the day.
"Just knowing from the times that I've been to barber shops is knowing that there's a lot of conversation that happened within the barbershop," he told WCNC Charlotte. "I think all young men are really hungry for right now. We've been locked away for two years of, you know, just these kinds of connections are so important to us."
As the first time Queens' has done this event since before the pandemic, White said the need for a deeper dialogue about racial injustice is crucial.
"For young Black men, in particular, minority barbershops are widely known as a place to receive more than a haircut," White explained. "They often offer a safe place to talk about anything and everything. The past two years of widespread division and racism, as well as repeated instances of racial injustice and police brutality, have increased the need for deeper dialogue and strong mentorship for these young men."
DICE is partnering with the men of the Black Student Union and the iBelong Minority Male Mentoring Program to host the program. You can learn more about the program by visiting the university's website.