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Virginia Hair Discrimination Law Now In Effect, Leaves Only 44 States Left To Go

by Diana Holiner

In March, Virginia passed The CROWN Act and became the fourth state to do so. Other states that have passed the CROWN Act are California, New York, Colorado, New Jersey, and Washington. The CROWN Act stands for “The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” and was first introduced in California in January 2019. The CROWN Act is a law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle, specifically race-based hair discrimination. One of the reasons this is so important is because hair discrimination can be used as an excuse for racial discrimination, without ever actually saying the company or organization is discriminating based on race; instead, they can say they won’t hire someone because of their hairstyle, something that often has ties to race.

This is incredibly important as Black Women, in particular, have often been discriminated against for wearing their hair in natural styles. The law bans racial discrimination on the basis of hair that includes “traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed the bill on March 4, saying that “if we send children home from school because their hair looks a certain way, or otherwise ban certain hairstyles associated with a particular race—that is discrimination. This is not only unacceptable and wrong, it is not what we stand for in Virginia. This bill will make our Commonwealth more equitable and welcoming for all.”

The CROWN Act went into effect on July 1. Virginia is the first state in the south to pass the CROWN Act and we hope other states follow their lead. For more information about the CROWN Act, you can visit their website and sign their petition.

Header image via Pexels / Ricaldo Donaldson

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