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Baltimore barbershop gives teens a space to talk about domestic violence

Posted at 11:35 PM, Oct 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-30 23:35:23-04

BALTIMORE — Opening up about domestic violence or abuse can be hard for anyone to do, especially teenagers.

But there are some spaces where teens open up more. One of those places?

The barbershop.

On Monday, the Mayor’s Office of Community Engagement partnered with Kleen Barbers to have conversations about domestic violence with a group of teens while also giving them free haircuts.

“Once the kids are in that space where they’re speaking organically, feeding off of one another, that they may be able to recognize where in their life outside of here they can commit, and they can pledge to end violence in their home, in their school, on their team, on their block," said Ashley Rivera, an intimate partner violence prevention coordinator with MONSE.

In most communities, barbershops are recognized as a place to talk and share personal details with others, usually the barber.

“You tell them a lot you tell them everything so maybe its not the intentional conversation like what were having here tonight but its already laid the ground work for a safe space to have vulnerable conversations. so we want to be intentional with that and help change the culture grow the culture. raise the bar," said Brandon Howard, the owner of Kleen Barbers.

But this time the teens had a focused conversation with each other.

They were given scenarios to react to, ones which could happen in their lives or people around them.

“We want them to recognize toxic and unhealthy traits that way they can make the choice to make some healthier more positive influential decisions," said Rivera.

Its about more than just violence, but how each of them could do their part at preventing bad things from happening.

Howard says its important for this conversation to happen and to connect to the younger generation.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to use my life experiences and our business as Kleen Barbers to be able to give back and make an impact in the next generation of Baltimore,” he said.

Not only did the teens get haircuts, they each got a white ribbon which symbolizes their pledge to help stop violence against others.