Wearing your hair in braids, locs, or your natural hair texture to work will now be legally protected in the state of Delaware. Governor John Carney officially signed the bill for the Crown Act into law on Tuesday, April 13, making Delaware 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, Virginia, Connecticut, and New Mexico.
In the remaining states, it is still legally permitted for employers to police Black hair for an apparent lack of “professionalism.” It’s been far too long (centuries in fact) that Black women in America have been told their hair is “ugly,” “unprofessional,” and “distracting.” Even children have been taken out of classrooms, sent home early, or barred from events like sports for simply wearing their hair out or in braids, while workers across industries can lose their jobs due to a hairstyle.
Established by the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) 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.
On July 3, 2019, California became the first state to sign the Crown Act into law after it was put forward by Democratic state senator Holly J. Mitchell. “My vision for the bill is twofold,” Mitchell told Glamour at the time. “First, by introducing the bill, I wanted to use it as an opportunity to educate my colleagues about the unique experience and opportunities of having Black hair. I didn’t want them to see it as a negative. Because of my natural hair texture, I have the unique opportunity to wear these amazing natural hairstyles.”
The Crown Act was passed on a federal level by the U.S. House of Representatives last fall, but it 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 and share our PSA on why this legislation is absolutely crucial.
Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.