The path of CROWN

Rachel Meyer, News Writer

As Barack Obama, former President of the United States, once said, “I see what is possible when we recognize that we are one American family, all deserving of equal treatment.” On March 18, 2022, The House of Representatives passed the CROWN Act. CROWN stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair and this act prohibits race based hair discrimination in employment and education. The Act was created by the Dove company and the CROWN Coalition. The CROWN Coalition consist of organizations that want to end hair bias discrimination in the United States. The first state to pass the act was California, with Jerry Brown signing the bill into law on June 27, 2019. California State Senator Holly J. Mitchell partnered with the CROWN Coalition to help get the act passed and shared her passion for this subject on Twitter after the act was passed in California. “California’s strength is in its diversity. No one should be discriminated against at work or school for their natural hair or hair styles. I am proud to have authored the CROWN Act and to share that today it has become the first anti-discrimination law of its kind in the U.S.,” Mitchell said. Along with California, 11 other states passed the CROWN Act before the act was passed by the House of Representatives. These states are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. The act passed the House in September 2020, however, did not pass in the Senate. The House of Representatives voted 235- 189 to pass the act and now it will move onto the Senate. If the Senate passes the act, natural hair discrimination will become illegal nationwide. With the Biden administration in support, some say it is very likely to pass. As of April 19, the date when the voting will happen is uncertain. There were many discussions during the House session about whether this is an important topic to the Americans. Ohio Representative, Jim Jordan, said that hair discrimination was not an issue that Americans care about. However the CROWN Coalition has been advocating for this bill to pass. “It is important because it affects human lives. It is a civil rights issue. It is a human rights issue. We should be able to wear our hair however we choose,” Richardson Lawson, a CROWN Coalition member, said. “I do think that some people do not see this as an issue because they have never lived the experience. Until you have a lived experience in the space, it is hard for some people to understand.” According to a 2019 study conducted by the JOY Collective, 80 percent of Black women said they had to change their natural hair to gain respect in the workplace. The CROWN Coalition research study also found that Black women’s hair is 3.4 times more likely to be viewed as unprofessional and they are 1.5 times likely to be sent home from work due to their hair. The act is important to many African Americans as it affects their job opportunities and education. The CROWN Act has been the closest act of this kind to get passed by the House of Representatives. However, other laws have tried to be passed to end hair discrimination. Check local and national news stations for updates on this act as it heads to the Senate for approval.