By Trang Nguyen
I first engaged with Forward Together while working as a community organizer in the nail salon industry. Working closely together, we developed Keeping Our Families Strong: A Health and Safety Handbook for Nail Salon Workers. We designed the handbook to support nail salon workers and owners to shift toward less toxic products and practices and to ensure that their businesses would be ready for the transition to a green economy, as well as to protect the health of their families.
The handbook came to fruition after Forward Together did research that confirmed a concern folks had around the health and safety and the working conditions and environment of nail salon workers. That’s why we didn’t just create this handbook; we ran a campaign to hold the nail industry accountable for the health of nail salon workers who use their toxic chemicals on a daily basis. We also worked to have the legislation updated that would protect folks.
Through the process of organizing low-wage nail salon workers in California, specifically in Oakland, Forward Together helped women envision change and make change happen for the entire industry in the state of California.