An Ashburn salon owner and photographer are volunteering their time and talents this week to spread a clear message throughout Loudoun: love is love.
Karma Salon and Spa co-owner Nina Ahmed, her friend Nikki Thiem and photographer Ali Khaligh put a public invite on Facebook to take part in an impromptu #loveislove Campaign for Equality Photo Shoot on Monday.
People were asked to wear white and invited to write “love is love” somewhere on their body, showing acceptance to those in the LGBT community, following the mass shooting June 12 at a gay night club in Orlando.
“I personally know a lot of people who are gay and I saw how much the tragedy in Orlando affected them, so I wanted to show support for that community,”Ahmed said.
Close to 40 people showed up to the salon for the shoot, and Khaligh took photos for almost seven hours.
“The response was so great—I didn’t expect that much interest,” Khaligh said today.
Ahmed also noted that both she and Khaligh are Muslim. “That’s important for people to know,” she said. “We want people to see that even though the shooter was Muslim, not all Muslims are the same. We support equality—100 percent.”
Ahmed and Khaligh decided to hold a second photo shoot this Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m. That shoot has already filled up, with more than 50 people—and a few dogs—signed up.
Khaligh said the overwhelming response has been an encouraging illustration of people’s love and acceptance.
“This is about all of humanity,” he said. “We are trying to say it doesn’t matter what race or faith or background we have, we are all the same.”
Editor’s note: Ali Kaligh has worked as a freelance photographer for Loudoun Now.