Culture

Meet the Women Who Are Rallying to Legally Ban Natural Hair Discrimination Through the CROWN Act

Meet the Women Who Are Rallying to Legally Ban Natural Hair Discrimination Through the CROWN Act

Last week, California became the first state in the United States to ban employers and school officials from discriminating against a person based on their natural hairstyle. 

Democrat Sen. Holly Mitchell, who introduced the bill earlier this year known as the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, said that the new law is about “inclusion, pride and choice.”

“The law protects the right of Black Californians to choose to wear their hair in its natural form, without pressure to conform to Eurocentric norms,” CNN reports Mitchell saying in a statement. “I am so excited to see the culture change that will ensue from the law.”

Working alongside Mitchell to help push for this legislation were several other women including political strategist and racial equality advocate Adjoa B. Asamoah, Unilever’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Esi Eggleston Bracey, Emmy Award-winning creative visionary Kelli Richardson Lawson and Orlena Nwokah Blanchard amongst many others.

 

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The moment we’ve been working for...is here!!! Next up, New York and New Jersey. Be part of the movement by signing our petition. Link in bio. Thank you to coalition members @dove @colorofchange @naturbanleague @western_center for the support, resources, and vision 🙏🏽 👑👑👑 #repost @manemoves ・・・ California is the first state to pass a anti-hair discrimination bill! The Crown Act has just been signed into law minutes ago by Gov. Gavin Newsome! This is a major triumph in the movement towards equity and access! Thank you Senator Holly J. Mitchell, Esi Eggleston Bracey and the entire Crown Coalition for your hard work and dedication in protecting our rights! #thecrownact #hollyjmitchell #naturalhairdiscrimination #naturalhair #FreeTheCurls #freethehair #california #crowncoalition #hairdiscriminatin

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“Claiming success in California sets the stage for us to get legislation passed in other states,” Asamoah tells Blavity. “The prospects of this being a nationwide push look good.”

During Essence Fest weekend, Bracey hosted a “Crowns & Conversations” event to not only celebrate California’s new legislation, but to also create a call to action for other Black women to celebrate their beauty and to push for similar legislation across all 50 states. 

“We formed a Black beauty alliance to make sure you are clear on how we, together, can impact our community,” Essence reports Bracey saying. “It was mind boggling to us that in 2018, and still in 2019, when you Google search pretty women you see white women with blond hair and blue eyes.”

Bracey added that “the stories continued on issues with our hair and how our hair wasn’t acceptable or accepted. All of our glory and our hair is our crown.”

In research sponsored by Dove, it was discovered that 80% of Black women are more likely to change their natural hair in order to meet social standards at work. Additionally, Black women are 50% more likely to have reported being sent home because of their hair, and 82% of Black women said they have received grooming policies at work. 

That’s why, Dove co-founded the CROWN coalition in partnership with the National Urban League, Color of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty. On its website, Dove says their mission is to “advance efforts to end hair discrimination and to create a more equitable and inclusive beauty experience for Black women and girls.”

To find out how you can support the CROWN coalition and sign the petition to bring anti-discrimination hair laws to your state, visit https://campaigns.organizefor.org/petitions/help-make-hair-discrimination-illegal.