Saturday, June 2, 2012

Just Another Woman in the Struggle

Many social justice struggles were born in Oakland. That's one of the things I like most about living here.
Beauty Nnail shop is a family owned, tiny nail shop where mostly old black women go for service. I apreciate this because they tell great stories to one another while getting their nails done. As noted in another Yelp review, the exact same asian rock music has been playing in this shop for like always.
I am blind. I used to live near-by and would stop in quite often. The owner and I got into a disagreement about my service dog once long ago- she didn't want me to bring my Seeing Eye Dog in with me- and I decided to honor her request since I lived near-by and could just use my cane when visiting this business.
Fast forward... I had some time this afternoon where my daughter was with her Daddy and I really needed to get my nails done. I don't live near-by anymore.
I'm also a busy mom now with much less time for my hands. I thought it would be nice to be pampered in a friendly, familiar place. At first, it wasn't so friendly. The owner kept insisting that I could not bring my Seeing Eye Dog in while having my nails done. My dog led me to a chair. I sat down. I quietly made it clear that I was not prepared to leave until my nails were done. The owner kept asking me to leave. I reminded her about the laws that allow Seeing Eye Dogs to accompany their blind handlers, even in nail shops. One of the other customers said, "Those dogs aren't pets. They go everywhere. Even on the airplane." Suddenly, I had an army of Oakland ladies around me, calmly and (acuratly) explaining that not allowing me to travel with my Seeing Eye Dog was descrimination based on my disability. There were about six women in the shop who all gave a teach-in to the bewildered shop owner. "It's the law in this country that you have to treat people equal." one woman said. The owner agreed to do my nails. Thank you to all those unknown women who stuck up for me, my dog and our right to travel together. I will keep comeing to this nail shop because in the end, I felt proud to live in Oakland today. I felt like  I was along side women linked in a long chain of struggle for freedom- and we all got it.

No comments: