Fatima is a hair-braider, teacher and entrepreneur living in Bronzeville. She moved to Chicago from Mali in 2001 with a dream of opening her own salon. She loves the opportunities this city has given her and believes we need to stop focusing on where people come from and start collaborating for the greater good.
This story was produced by One Chicago, a campaign that facilitates access to resources and support for Chicago’s residents, including its immigrant and refugee communities. Since its founding, people from around the country and throughout the world have made Chicago their home.
“My grandmother picks me up on her soul. When we were younger, she always used to call us to come and play with her hair. I remember she was telling all of us that if I happened to do hair, I would be very good at it, because I have golden hands. Once I do her hair, she takes it down, and the next day, it grows longer. And that’s all of what I know.
So, when I came to America, I made a very good opportunity and that’s what I did. I got my visit to come and visit in America. I fell in love with the country. I said, ‘I’m not going back’; I decided to stay.
But I have grown in a different way. I never knew I was very craft, as I am today, until I ran through obstacles that I didn’t need to. What helped me do that in Chicago were the people. I met very great people who trusted me.
We are all immigrant because we all come from somewhere, that’s what I believe. But over here, it’s freer. You do what you want to do, and what you can do, to make you who you are.
Chicago built me; this is my home.”