Earlier this month, Connecticut passed the “Crown Act,” legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on hairstyles historically associated with race.
What is the CROWN Act?
The CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” helps to prevent the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles, including braids, locs, twists or Bantu knots.
What created the CROWN Act?
The CROWN Act was Led by the CROWN Coalition, founded by Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law & Poverty. Since it was first introduced in 2019, eight states have now signed the bill into law.
According to a 2019 Dove CROWN Research Study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from their place of work because of their hair.
Which States Have Passed The CROWN Act?
Twenty-three states have introduced CROWN legislation, including Georgia, Florida and Arizona. Of those states, California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Maryland, and municipalities in Cincinnati and Montgomery County, Maryland, have all passed the bill, along with Connecticut.
And Michigan could be following suit.
Last month, Michigan State Representative Sarah Anthony reintroduced the CROWN Act in Michigan, two years after she first put the measure forward in the state.
“As an African American woman, I can, you know, share so many stories from men and women who have been held back from promotions [and] from job opportunities, children who have been sent home from school because of the way their hair naturally grows out of their head or because of protective styles,” Rep. Anthony toldWKAR. “And it really, truly is heartbreaking to hear these types of stories in our community.”
Simply put, the CROWN Act means that men and women of color can turn up to work and school without being singled out or discriminated against for rocking natural styles often frowned upon for not fitting in with Eurocentric criteria.
Adjoa B. Asamoah, social impact and political strategist, has been hard at work rallying for the CROWN Act to be signed into law nationwide. “The right to rock our crowns, the way we see fit, especially in alliance with, you know, who we are culturally and as a people, that right, must be protected and preserved,” she told ABC7 News.