In February, the New York City Commission on Human Rights issued new guidelines to protect individuals from racial discrimination based on their hairstyle. Under the preface of the city’s human right’s law, which reportedly outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, persons found guilty of the offense could face up to $250,000 in penalties. New York is noted as the first municipality to introduce a policing system to improve impartiality amongst natural hairstyle wearers, and California is in line to become the first state.

Last Thursday, the State Assembly voted unanimously to approve the CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair), a bill that bans the discrimination of natural hair, and bans employers and schools from enforcing discriminatory grooming policies. According to the New York Times, the proposed legislation was introduced by Los Angeles State Senator, Holly Mitchell, who says she heard directly from constituents whose children have been impacted by natural hair prejudices.

“This bill has truly struck a deeply personal chord with people because there is something so deeply personally offensive when you are told that your hair, in its natural state, is not acceptable,” said Mitchell in an interview. ” I have heard from parents whose children have been sent home from school because they were told their hair was unruly.”

Despite being popular hairstyles for African Americans, weaves, afros, and protective styles are prohibited across the US in a number of settings. Recently, a North Carolina pool owner came under fire for posting “racist” rules that banned customers wearing either of the hairstyles from using the facility. Mitchell, who has worn her hair in a natural style for 20 years, is ready to change that narrative.

“Black girls are being sent home for their hair being in violation of school dress code,” she said. “I’m not sure how that happened, but now it hopefully won’t anymore.” 

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