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Louisiana CROWN Act Passes
An end to race-based hair discrimination in Louisiana awaits Gov. Edwards' signature
On Friday, HB 1083 passed the Louisiana Senate 29-4 and now heads to Gov. Edwards' desk. The bill, authored by Re. Candace Newell (D-New Orleans) prevents school and company dress codes from discriminating against students or workers for their “skin color, facial characteristics, hair texture, natural hairstyles, and protective hairstyles.”
“No one should be penalized for embracing their natural hair,” Newell said when the bill passed out of committee last month. “Fourteen states have already taken this important step and we must be the next state to do so.”
The bill is modeled after the national Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, a legislative effort that began in 2019 with a collaboration between soapmaker Dove, the National Urban League, Color of Change, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
According to research published by Dove, 53% of Black mothers report that their children experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old. In the workplace, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to have been sent home or know a Black woman who has been sent home from work because of her hair.
“No one should be denied employment or an education because of their hair,” Dove stated in their report. “We must end race-based hair discrimination now.”
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Louisiana joins a growing list of states and municipalities that have passed a version of the CROWN Act. In March, the US House voted 235-189 to pass a federal version of the legislation. The Biden administration has said it “strongly supports” the bill.
“Pernicious forms of systemic racism persist when dress and grooming codes, for example, prohibit hair texture or hairstyle that is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin,” said a statement of policy issued by the President’s executive office. “Such discrimination has imposed significant economic costs, learning disruption, and denial of economic opportunities for people of color. Black women, for example, experience discrimination in hiring because of natural hair styles, and Black girls experience disproportionate rates of school discipline, sometimes for discriminatory hair violations.”
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