“Acknowledgement”. Leauxla Rose responded while getting her first ever “undercut” at the South Washington intersection of 35W near the iconic LOVE POWER mural. This was in response to Katie’s question, “What is something you like to receive beyond money and food?” Something as simple as a nod or smile towards a person can make them feel visible and human. It establishes a human connection that is real.
Leauxla Rose has the type of personality that draws people to her, she is bright, warm, and incredibly kind. She believes in community and is grateful for the family she has found within Minneapolis, and with others who are experiencing homelessness. She broke out in laughter as we set up a “mobile salon” and the red chair on the side of one of the busiest intersections in Downtown Minneapolis. When we asked her to give us a snapshot of who she is, Leauxla Rose smiled and went on to share her love for making shampoos out of oils and baking soda, cooking and homemade dishes - including curry, and being creative with art. She finds joy in her community and appreciates the support from them.
While getting her haircut Katie and Leauxla Rose shared a few laughs about hair color as they both came to the conclusion that they’ve dyed their hair every color but green (she sometimes uses lipstick to give herself pink highlights!). In regards to her grown out blonde she told Katie that she bleached her own her with a DIY solution composed of peroxide, baking soda, coconut oil, and lemon juice. Leauxla is an artist that loves freehand drawing and painting. She loves receiving necklaces from her friends in the community and wears them proudly along with the vibrant wildflowers she finds and braids into her hair. She is also an avid dog lover and was beaming when she was recounting stories about her two childhood dogs, Nico and Kodiak Bear.
Leauxla Rose started experiencing homelessness seven years ago, but receives support in the family she has found in her community. Leauxla acknowledged the loss she has encountered in her life but she made a point to highlight the better days that are coming. She is a strong believer in karma and what you put out is what will find its way back to you. She kept referring to life circumstances as a “domino effect”, which Katie then asked “is this haircut a part of your domino effect?”. Leauxla Rose responded “yes, and it's a part of yours as well. This mobile salon is good for both of us.”
Sometimes it is easy to take for granted the smaller things in life - including a haircut. Leauxla Rose’s last haircut was three years ago, and the impact of this experience was truly special. The confidence was evident in the brightness of her smile.
“You made my day.” Was one of Leauxla’ Rose’s closing remarks as we packed up the “mobile salon” and red chair. When we see someone who is asking for help, we might not always have money or items to give, but one thing we are all capable of sharing is the acknowledgment of someone's existence, even if it is simply making eye contact.
Written by Emily Lall and Katie Steller