The CROWN Act, which is an acronym for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair,” is legislation that seeks to ensure that people of color, and in particular black women, do not suffer discrimination at work or at school because they wear natural hairstyles. You may be surprised to learn that there are no federal or state anti-discrimination laws that offer this protection. If you would like to read more, click here to access a Dove Study on the negative impact of natural hairstyles on black women in the workplace.
The CROWN Act has already been passed in California, New York and most recently New Jersey. It has also been adopted locally in Montgomery County, Maryland and Cincinnati, Ohio. Additionally, CROWN Act legislation has been introduced or is pending introduction in a number of other states, but it has NOT been passed (or even proposed) in Pennsylvania. Last month, Senator Cory Booker (NJ), along with Representatives Ayanna Pressley (MA), Marcia Fudge (OH), and Barbara Lee (CA) agreed to sponsor the CROWN Act in Congress. If passed at the national level, there would be no further need for grassroots efforts to pass this legislation at the state and local levels.
Currently several major national civil rights and civic organizations have joined the CROWN Act Coalition to support passage of this important legislation, including not only our national headquarters, Jack and Jill of America, Inc., but also various chapters of the ACLU, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the National Action Network, the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Links, Inc.
If you would like to lend your support to ensure that no one in our community has to suffer the loss of a job, removal from school, inability to compete in intramural sporting events, or other public acts of humiliation and exclusion based on their hair, the first and easiest thing you can do to support the CROWN Act is to sign the petition here expressing your support for this important legislation AND then share it with others to expand your impact. The CROWN Act Coalition is seeking to secure 100,000 signatures so that it can garner national attention (including the ability to petition the White House for support) for this cause. They are just over halfway to this goal, so please sign the petition and share it widely across your social media and other networks.
At our September Mothers Meeting, we voted overwhelmingly to support the CROWN Act this Program Year through the work of our Health & Legislative Committee. So stay tuned for more information about how each of us individually, and our chapter, can become more involved in the effort to pass the CROWN Act.
The Health & Legislative Committee
Alissha Hodges, Chair
Stacey Hawkins, Committee Member