January 20, 2021 9:52 amTaijuan Moorman
Photo by Etty Fidele
The City of Columbus has implemented the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair or CROWN Act. The legislation, intended to ensure protection against discrimination based on hair texture and race-based hairstyles like braids, locs, and twists, went into effect on Friday, Jan. 16.
The ordinance was sponsored by Councilmember Priscilla Tyson with Councilmember Shayla Favor, in an effort to reduce the marginalization that occurs when students and employees have to worry more about how their hair will be perceived or accepted instead of their academic and professional capabilities.
“I am very pleased that our voices have been heard on this issue,” said Councilmember Tyson. “Discrimination takes many forms. This year we’ve been reminded that racism is a public health crisis, not only in America but in Columbus, Ohio, and around the world.”
“I’m honored to co-sponsor this important and timely measure alongside Councilmember Tyson as our City works to eliminate the impact of racism and discrimination in our community,” said Councilmember Favor. “Through the implementation of the CROWN Act, we are preparing to make strides towards greater equity in professional and educational environments for our Black community members who have been penalized for the appearance and style of their natural hair.”
The legislation adds two provisions to the Columbus City Code:
- “Race” is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair textures and protective and cultural hairstyles;
- “Protective and cultural hairstyles” includes, but is not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locs, cornrows, bantu knots, afros, and twists, whether or not hair extensions or treatments are used to create or maintain any such style, and whether or not hair ornaments, beads or head wraps adorn the hair.
Further, the legislation expands discrimination to include employment, fair housing, public accommodations, and education.
The CROWN Act is the result of a national effort by the CROWN Coalition, founded by Dove, the National Urban League, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, and the Color of Change.
Legislation has been passed in states including California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington, and Maryland; Ohio cities including Cleveland Heights, Akron, Cleveland, Cincinnati; and other municipalities such as Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New York City, and New Orleans.