The CROWN ACT, Protection for our Natural Hair Beauties

The CROWN ACT, Protection for our Natural Hair Beauties

In 2019, the Dignity for All Students Act, or DASA, was amended by the CROWN Act to add the definition of race to include traits such as hair texture and protective hairstyles such as locs, braids, and twists to protect students’ access to their public education regardless of how they choose to wear/style their hair. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, prohibits racial discrimination based on hair texture and protective hairstyles.

 Simply put, the CROWN Act protects students’ rights to wear or treat their hair however they desire, without the threat of racial discrimination or loss of access to school, participation in activities, and inclusion in opportunities inside and beyond typical classrooms. School administrators can work to create a culturally responsive and sustaining school environment that reflects the diversity of its students, including their hairstyles, and supports student self-expression. This helps advance all-natural hair beauties, in so many ways.

Hair discrimination is a global issue and touches Black girls and women of all ages in school, at work , and beyond. In the U.S., Black children have been suspended and punished for wearing natural hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, and bantu knots. A Dove study found that Black women are 30 percent more likely to be made aware of a workplace appearance policy, and are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of these policies. Black women are 80 percent more likely to agree with the statement: “I have to change my hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.”

Also, the injustices and health risks thrust upon Black women and girls as a result of hair discrimination have not gone unnoticed.  “For too long, Black girls have been discriminated against and criminalized for the hair that grows on our heads and the way we move through and show up in this world,” said U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley on the House floor before the House passed The CROWN Act, sending the bill to the Senate for consideration. “Black girls, with our braids, locs, afros, all forms of natural hairstyles, and yes, even our smooth Alopecian bald heads, belong everywhere,” added Pressley, and many agree that our young children deserve the right to wear their natural hair or hairstyles they feel that reflects the diversity and supports student self-expression.

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