Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Austin Celebrates the CROWN Act Becoming State Law

A bill intended to end the discrimination of hairstyles associated with race was signed into law Sunday by Governor Greg Abbott. House Bill 567, better known as the CROWN Act, was passed in the Texas Senate with 29-1 votes and in the Texas House by 143-5. It goes into effect on September 1.

The CROWN Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. Discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle results in a denial of basic civil rights, including educational, housing, employment opportunities and places of public accommodation.

The Austin City Council approved implementing the CROWN Act in June 2022, making Austin the first city in Texas to do so.
 
“This is another step forward to protect and improve the lives of countless people across the state,” said Interim Civil Rights Director Dr. Tamela Saldana. “We know there continues to be discrimination against Black women and girls for wearing hairstyles inherent to their culture. Governor Abbott signing the CROWN Act into law sends a clear message that hair discrimination has no place here.”
 
Approving the CROWN Act amended City Code to revise the definition of “Discriminatory Employment Practice” to include “Protective Hairstyles”. This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
 
CROWN Act bills have been passed in 21 states including Texas and are part of a national civil rights and anti-discrimination movement started in 2019.

For more information on the Office of Civil Rights visit: Office of Civil Rights | AustinTexas.gov

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