Beacon Center Sends Letter to the Cosmetology Board

January 19, 2018 11:46AM

Today, the Beacon Center sent a letter to the Board of Cosmetology and Barbers on behalf of barber and Memphis resident Elias Zarate. The letter asks the Board to join the Beacon Center in working to eliminate high school degree requirement to become a barber, as that nonsensical regulation is currently keeping Elias out of work, unable to provide for his family the way he was before.

Elias has faced massive adversity in his life, yet somehow remains committed to his dream of becoming a barber even though he never finished high school. At the age of ten, traveling with his family, including his two younger siblings, the car broke down. His father was trying to steer the car off the road while his mother pushed from behind when another car smashed into them, instantly crushing his mother to death.  His grandparents took custody of his brother and sister but not him. So, at the age of thirteen, Elias was left to fend for himself in Memphis. Even then he managed to get by, successfully completing his junior year in high school. He was dealt the final blow his senior year. The situation with his grandparents raising his brother and sister became untenable leaving Elias with no choice—he finally dropped out in the middle of his senior year to care for the only family he had left, his younger brother and sister. Elias worked hard and succeeded in seeing both of them graduate. As a result of the sacrifices he made for them, however, he never graduated high school.

There’s not any reason why we should not want Elias to achieve his dream of becoming a barber. The job market is tough enough for high school dropouts without artificially denying them entry into one of the few dignified and stable fields that a person can do without a high school degree. Elias would make a great barber. He is social and creative with a dedicated work ethic. Besides, anything he needs to know about becoming a barber he will learn in the mandatory 1,500 hours of barber school he must complete before he could even sit for the barber exam. Sending him to high school wouldn’t equip him any better. He doesn’t need to understand trigonometry or the Great Gatsby to learn how to cut hair.

You can watch Elias’ video below and donate to his GoFundMe campaign that was set up to help Elias pay back his government fines here.