Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, a bill to prohibit racial discrimination based on a person’s hairstyle or hair texture. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) has supported the bill since it was first introduced in 2019 and, along with the other 80+ community and advocacy organizations in the CROWN Coalition, has spent years advocating for this essential legislation.
In response to the CROWN Act’s passage, Lisa Cylar Barrett, LDF’s Director of Policy, and Michaele N. Turnage Young, Senior Counsel at LDF who serves as lead counsel in LDF’s case challenging Barbers Hill Independent School District’s discriminatory hair policy, released the following statements:
“We commend the representatives who voted for the CROWN Act, a crucial bill to protect Black people, nationwide, from hair discrimination. Like many other aspects of Black identity, Black hair is all too often penalized in public spaces — especially in workplaces and schools — through seemingly race-neutral grooming policies and dress codes that, in truth, disproportionately impact and unjustly burden Black people.
“Now that the CROWN Act has been passed by the House, we urge the U.S. Senate to consider and pass this critical legislation to ensure that Black people are able to exist as their full selves in all spaces.”
“Our clients were in the middle of their sophomore and senior years in high school when Barbers Hill Independent School District (BHISD) officials informed them that they either had to cut their locs or be barred from participating in regular school classes or activities. They, along with their families, endured significant trauma and wide-ranging negative consequences for wearing their hair in a way that honored their heritage.
“Discriminatory dress and grooming policies like BHISD’s are highly damaging and fundamentally inexcusable. We are eager to see the day when hair discrimination is prohibited by the full weight of the law — and today’s advancement of the CROWN Act is an important step forward toward achieving this objective.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.