Ohio has joined the growing national movement to legally ban hair discrimination. Earlier this week, State Representatives Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) introduced legislation to “ban discriminatory policies in Ohio schools that penalize students, especially students of color, for wearing natural hairstyles that embrace their cultural identities.”
The new bill is part of the growing movement around the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act which has already been passed in California, New York, and New Jersey. Nearly two dozen other states are also considering similar legislation, including Minnesota, Colorado and Washington.
The CROWN Act is a direct response to the oft-viral stories of Black students being kicked out of schools and employees losing their jobs and or being singled out for having natural hair or dreadlocks.
“We want our schools to be welcoming places that embrace diversity—not discriminate against it,” said Brent in a recent release. “And yet, we continue to hear of instances of discrimination against black and brown kids who wear their hair naturally. The CROWN Act would end that.
“This commonsense bill protects our kids and ensures they have the same opportunity to fulfill their promise as any other child in our state,” added Brent.
“The CROWN Act is a good first step to help eliminate the unconscious biases that too often hold people of color back in Ohio,” said Hicks-Hudson. “We work for you—and that means taking on discrimination whenever it happens, especially in our schools. At the end of the day, the way you wear your hair should not limit your pursuit of the American Dream.”
If passed, the legislation will make it easier for anyone who has been discriminated against under the CROWN Act to file a civil suit.