“We think making a difference begins with making a statement. A bold one.”–Beth Roberts, Bald Solidarity
Beth was sharing the vision for Bald Solidarity, a Seattle-based non-profit organization committed to ending injustice for women around the world through fundraising and social advocacy. She spoke of her time as a teacher in Bangladesh. She spoke of girls sold into slavery and given to marriages they never wanted. She told of widows left on the streets with nothing because they no longer had value. Then she talked about women in the Western world—so obsessed with beauty and appearance, so tortured by trivial decisions like haircuts and lipstick.
She said something that day that changed me:
“Hair is just a marker of our identity, and giving it up is our way of choosing to support women around the world who don’t have much choice at all. We think making a difference begins with making a statement. A bold one.”
I was hooked.
I stared at Beth, camera forgotten by my side, and wondered how I could ever shave my head willingly, yet also knowing that I was definitely going to do it.
Then it hit me—it came down to a simple choice: my hair or my voice. So I chose my voice.
Sure, shaving my head was terrifying, but I knew Beth was on to something. I could support the cause with my money and walk away unchanged, or I could support the cause with my hair and never be the same again.
The first time I shaved my head we raised more than $2,500 for a local organization fighting human trafficking. It was November and my head was freezing.
Everything changed that day. That was the day I realized the wonders inside of me were so much more important than what was on the outside. I’ve always known God had a better grasp on who I really was, because my heart mattered so much more to Him than my hair did (or my clothes, or my car, or my cell phone). But for the first time in my life I could see it too.
I felt beautiful and empowered—it no longer mattered that I was the single girl with the crooked teeth and love-handles who sang a little too loud in church, because now I was the bald girl—a little crazy in a good way.
I’ve shaved for Bald Solidarity twice and I know I am likely to do it again, because if I ever have a daughter I want to look her in the face and say, “Baby, we fight for what we believe in and we look out for others even when they live on the other side of the world.”
I’m more likely to answer to Sars than Sarah. That’s because years ago my brothers started calling me Sars and, as the name implies, it was infectious. I’m a visual journalism grad from Western Washington University and a self-proclaimed writer-photographer-Jesus-lover-painter-adventurer-foodie. I have a near obsession with ending injustice and I’m a sucker for a good cause.