Sponsor plans to bring back bill blocking hair discrimination despite cut from 2023 agenda
Miami Beach takes a stand against Black hair discrimination.

It's the 4th year that the proposed anti-discrimination legislation hair has stalled.

The fourth attempt to add those with dreadlocks, cornrows and Afros to the list of those protected from discrimination failed a fourth time this Session, but Democratic Sen. Bobby Powell says he’s undeterred.

“We are committed to this legislation,” Powell said. “It’s bound to change the way people look at hair.”

The act, known as “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act“ or the CROWN Act is part of a national movement that’s been passed in nearly two dozen states and in the U.S. House. It’s aimed at ending bias, shown by studies, toward those who don “Afrocentric hairstyle conditions,” particularly women.

The U.S. Senate blocked the legislation after the House passed it in 2022. If the Senate approves it, hair discrimination based on natural texture would become illegal under Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act and other federal civil rights laws.

Nationally, the CROWN Coalition is an alliance of organizations that started in 2019, according to its website. The members are Dove, the soap company; the National Urban League, a civil rights organization; Color of Change, an online racial justice organization; and Western Center on Law and Poverty, an anti-poverty organization.

Dove’s research found that a Black woman is 80% more likely to change her natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work than other women. The research also found Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home or know a Black woman who was sent home from work because of her hair.

Powell, in the state Senate, filed the legislation (SB 590) that would prohibit discrimination in public education based on hairstyle. Hair discrimination would be on the same level of bias occurring as a result of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion or marital status, according to the bill.

Powell inherited this mantle from Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy, who originally filed the legislation in 2020. House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell filed a comparable bill (HB 51). Democratic Rep. Kamia Brown filed it the year before.

Neither piece of legislation saw a committee hearing during the 2023 Session. But Powell says the mission will go on.

“This is something that could have a long-lasting legacy,” Powell said.

California was the first state to pass the CROWN Act and has since been followed by 18 other states, some as far south as Louisiana and Tennessee.

Powell said he’s looking to create a different attitude.

“If you don’t know a person, the first thing you see is their hair,” he said. “It shouldn’t prevent you from developing a relationship.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].

One comment

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 8, 2023 at 8:10 pm

    Good evening America,
    This “hair” bill is a prime example why America’s premire, most loved, and most hated Political Commentater Earl Pitts American refers to dook 4 brains leftists as dook for brains leftists.
    And to think this is the 4th strike out for this 100% political pandering bill makes me, Earl Pitts ” Most Beloved and Most Hated” American dig for a more stronger moniker to describe those few of you stupider than regular dook 4 brains leftists.
    How about this:
    “Dook X 2 for brains leftists”?
    Let me know how much y’all love “Dook X 2 for brains leftists” my loyal dues paying members of my “Earl Pitts American Fan Club”!!!!!
    I know its shear genious.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts American

Comments are closed.


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