Empowerment

What Is The CROWN Act And Why Is It Important Now?

July 3 is National CROWN Day, supported by Dove to advocate for the CROWN Act which has been signed into law in multiple states. It works to protect people from race-based hair discrimination at a job or school.

PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images

Multiple states across the U.S. have passed legislation banning race-based hair discrimination as a result of the C.R.O.W.N Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” The act fights to protect people of color in workplaces and schools from discrimination based on their hair styles.

Nevada’s Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed the CROWN Act into law this month, joining 11 other states that have already done so, too. California state Senator Holly Mitchell (D) first introduced the bill in 2019 and since then, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut, New Mexico, and Nebraska have all signed the CROWN Act or similar legislation into law.

In September 2020, the CROWN Act passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, but never passed in the Senate, stalling a chance for a federal law. The bill was reintroduced in Congress in March 2021.

The campaign to enact the legislation is led by a coalition founded by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law & Poverty. According to the official website, the CROWN Act is a law that “prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots.”

According to a 2019 Dove study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from a workplace because of their hair, and 80% of respondents said they’ve had to change their hair from its natural state to fit in at the office. For years, people who have experienced hair discrimination have challenged instances of being fired from their jobs, having offers rescinded, or schools punishing students for their hair. The cases that have gone to court have not always delivered consistent success, which makes clearer legislation such as the CROWN Act a key tool to protect people from race-based hair discrimination.

You can get involved and help the CROWN Act move forward by signing the petition here or learning more about the mission here. The CROWN Coalition also has resources for anyone who has experienced hair discrimination.


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