Wearing your hair in locs, braids, or its natural texture to work will now be legally protected in the state of Connecticut. Governor Ned Lamont, who confirmed his support of the Crown Act after it was unanimously passed by the state Senate earlier this week, officially signed the bill into law on Thursday night.
Connecticut is the latest state to make hair discrimination in schools and the workplace illegal. States that have already enacted the historic legislation include California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado, Washington, and Virginia.
Established by the Crown Coalition, a group of brands and nonprofits including Dove, the National Urban League, and Color of Change, the Crown Act ensures that a person who chooses to wear their hair natural or in protective styles, such as braids, locs, and twists, will not be penalized. For centuries, Black women in America have been made to feel as if their natural hair is ugly, “unprofessional,” and a burden. The stigma still remains with children being taken out of classrooms and sent home for simply wearing their hair out, while workers in a wide range of industries can lose their jobs due to a supposed lack of professionalism.
These aggressions are deeply rooted in a racist system that is built to exclude and oppress. Adapting measures to protect the right to wear one’s hair natural goes beyond vanity—it is legally binding the right to celebrate Black identity and Black bodies that have long been dissected and oppressed throughout this nation’s history.
Last fall, the Crown Act was passed on a federal level by the U.S. House of Representatives, but its progress has been stalled as currently awaits review by the Senate. If approved, hair discrimination will be made illegal across all 50 states. Until then, you can sign the official petition to request lawmakers in your state support the bill.
Michella Oré is the beauty assistant at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @michellaor.