Economic Justice Is Theme of UMN Morris MLK Day Program

Sue Dieter

The University of Minnesota Morris’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. program will focus on Dr. King's advocacy around economic justice.

The program, Celebrating Dr./Rev. MLK, Jr. & Economic Justice, will be held on Monday, January 23, and features speakers Kyle Parker and Gil Jordan, from the organization ClipDart. 

ClipDart’s mission is to make a powerful, positive impact on the mental wellness of communities around the world through hair professionals, while, concurrently, revolutionizing the hair industry and common view of hair professionals' essentialness.

Parker founded ClipDart in 2021 in response to his own experiences as a student at Grinnell College in Iowa.

“Being an African-American from the south side of Chicago, I never had an issue finding a barber for the first 18 years of my life. Then, I moved to the middle of Iowa, and I was not able to find a barber within hours who was skilled at cutting minority hair texture. This is when I truly realized how essential hair professionals are to one’s mental wellness. 

“Within most minority communities, barbers are viewed as therapists, mentors, and pillars of the community. The barbershop is a safe-haven and cultural institution within black and brown communities where generations after generations share stories, unpack struggles, and listen to life’s challenges. It is a safe space. This continual mental struggle of feeling as if my culture was not included became one of the main reasons why I transferred after three years and started ClipDart’s movement.”

UMN Morris has been a partner with ClipDart since the fall of 2022.

Parker and Gil Jordan, ClipDart’s lead barber for Minnesota, will be sharing their personal stories and business approach of both filling a need and providing mental health and well-being for underrepresented communities. 

The event will be held in Imholte Hall Room 109 or via Zoom

Refreshments will be offered from 4:30–5 p.m. Program from 5–6 p.m.

Vertical poster with text from King's 1966 essay on economic justice in the background; images of CEO/Founder Kyle Parker and MN Lead Barber Gil Jordan with ClipDart's logo of a pair of sheats standing upright; a black/white photo of King with his hand to his chin