Just weeks after California became the first US state to make race-related hair discrimination illegal, New York has followed suit. Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed the ‘CROWN Act NY A7797 ’ into law, prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing hair-grooming policies that restrict natural hairstyles such as Afros and protective styles, including braids, locks, and twists.
The bill was supported by the CROWN Coalition, an alliance made up of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and the Unilever-owned beauty giant Dove. The acronym stands for ‘Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair’ and a similar bill has been introduced to both the Senate and the Assembly in New Jersey.
“As a Black woman who prioritizes equity, and has worn my hair natural for 17 years, this bill is deeply personal for me,” said Assemblywoman Tremaine S. Wright, who introduced the bill in New York alongside the state’s Senator Bailey, in a statement. “After recalling the action Congresswoman Marcia Fudge took during her tenure as Congressional Black Caucus Chair to confront new rules the army proposed to ban hairstyles that would disproportionately impact Black women, I decided I’d carry the CROWN Act in NY.”
A national study carried out by Dove earlier this year found that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to have reported being sent home from work — or know of a Black woman sent home — because of their hair. They are also 80% more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms or expectations in the workplace.
For more information about the CROWN Act, see www.thecrownact.com