Upworthy Voices: Shirley Raines is Bringing Beauty 2 the Streets

“Not all queens live in castles. Some live on the streets,” says Shirley.

You may have this woman’s courageous TikTok videos, in which she brings food and kindness to homeless people in her community - some of whom are clearly not well, and who lash out at her. She’ll be firm with them if they are aggressive or difficult, encourage them to quit smoking or calm down if they’re having a rough day, and generally she’s known as a local force of generosity and peace.

After massive personal loss and tragedy, including the loss of her child and partner, she wondered what her purpose could be - asking herself through grief: “What is all this pain for? Why am I here still?”

She looked in her community in Compton, CA and she found the answers.

Shirley created Beauty 2 The Streetz to serve the local homeless population with basic necessities and beauty treatments that give them a sense of dignity and humanity.

The homeless population in Skid Row is over 60,000 people (and the number only grew during the pandemic) - and every week, she makes it possible for those in need living outdoors to access hot showers, hearty meals, and the hope-inducing feeling of looking in the mirror and loving what you see. Her hope is that these confidence boosts help them to see that more might be possible for them - something beyond addiction, mental illness and homelessness.

She’s in her community spreading kindness and building friendships every Saturday, rain or shine. She advocates for them and speaks up about what they need. Those relationships, forged with compassion and equality, are based on more than hair and makeup - and they are what make those California streets more beautiful.
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