The African Braiding Shop Association, a group representing more than 500 African braiders in Israel, opened shop in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
According to a statement from the association, the shop is intended to open in the areas of Beit Jala and Silwan, where the current occupation is not acceptable, and that it is also the first place where they have the opportunity to provide the community with a wide range of braiding services.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter in the history of our community,” the statement said.
“We want to offer services that are new and different from what we do today, and also to build a community that has the right to work together, even under the threat of the occupation.”
In recent months, several African-owned businesses have opened in the West Bank.
The Association for African Braiders, a nonprofit organization based in Tel Aviv, was founded in 2006.
The organization’s board consists of prominent African braided professionals, including many African American women.
The organization has also sponsored braids by many of Israel’s top international artists, including Bikash and Nia-Arai, as well as singers, dancers and dancers in the Israeli and international music industry.
Since opening its first shop in Tel Hashomer in November 2012, the association has become an important voice in the community and a source of pride for the community, which has suffered from discriminatory policies for decades.
“We want people to know we are with them and we are fighting for the rights of our people,” Yaron Dutta, the organization’s president, said in a statement.
“Our goal is to open as many African-run businesses as possible in the territories, and we will continue to do this until we reach the goal of building an entire community that is equal to us.”
The Association is also working with local businesses to make the area a safer place for African braids.
“The occupation in the area is a problem that has not been dealt with by the government or the occupation authorities,” Dutya said.