National CROWN Day, also known as “Black Hair Independence Day,” is celebrated on July 3 and it’s all about celebrating Black hair. Created by The Crown Coalition, National Crown Day is campaigning to end hair discrimination, which the Black community faces far too often when wearing their natural hair, in the workplace, and at schools.
In honor of the day, we’re breaking down the CROWN Act — which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” — a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination.
Before there was CROWN Day, there was the CROWN Act. On July 3, 2021, the state of California began the charge to end discrimination against Black hair across the nation by signing the CROWN Act into law.
The inaugural CROWN Act law, which was first introduced by California Senator Holly Mitchell in 2019, broadened how race was defined in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and state Education Code, protecting Black people from hair discrimination at school and in the workplace.
Legislation banning race-based hair discrimination has been long overdue.
In August 2018, Louisiana student Faith Fennidy, 11, broke down in tears after administrators said her braids violated school policy.
Andrew Johnson, a high school wrestler, was forced to publicly shave off his dreads in order to compete in his weight class in 2019.
That same year, Chastity Jones said an employer rescinded her job offer after she refused to get rid of her dreadlocks.
These tragic incidents “were the wind that gave us the opportunity to help challenge public perception, to help us push back on employer perception, to change the law,” Mitchell said in a statement.
Since successfully becoming California law, the measure against race-based hair discrimination has earned support from federal and state legislators alike.
Earlier this year, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act was passed by the House 235 to 189 with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle supporting the measure that was first introduced as H.R. 2116 by New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D).
The CROWN Act must now pass through the Senate before making it to President Joe Biden, who has committed to signing the bill into law, according to a source from The Hill.
Per the official website, the best ways to get involved and help #PasstheCrown include emailing your senator and signing the petition.
Click here for more information.