The Sasha Bun
“My school is predominately Italian kids. Probably more than 95%. I have a new(er) student who is black in one of my classes. This week she came to school without braids. Some of the kids made fun of her for her short hair so she started wearing a (winter!) hat to school and refused to take it off. Today, together with the Italian teacher Veruska Meloni, we talked about being different and it not mattering. Whether we are short, tall, light skinned, dark skinned, blond, brunette, with or without glasses, boy, girl, braid, bun, sneakers, shoes…This student finally took her hat off today. She had a little bun on the top of her head. The other teacher and I both put our hair in buns on the top of our heads saying it was the “Sasha bun." Then one by one, all of the girls (and boys!) wanted their hair in a 'Sasha bun.' We were able to come together as a class and bring a smile to Sasha’s face after a long, tough week. It gave me chills to see 19 kids come together to help one fellow student. Grazie mille a Veruska! [Many thanks to Veruska!] TUTTI UGUALI [ALL EQUAL] TUTTI DIVERSI [ALL DIFFERENT]” -Alexondra Purnomo
Something as simple as embracing natural hair made a statement that forever changed those children. She did not scold the children and single out Sasha, but rather created an environment where Sasha was praised for her individuality. I love how the teacher handled this. There is nothing wrong with differences and they should be celebrated and not overlooked or made to conform. This teacher did more than make one little girl feel good about herself and her hair; she made an entire classroom of future adults love their classmate’s individuality and in turn begin to accept everyone’s uniqueness.
We need more people like Alexondra Purnomo, taking a problematic situation that could have scarred a child and turning it into a beautiful acceptance of all. All it took was creative positivity.