The Crown Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a person’s hair. You’d think this would be the law in all 50 states, but unfortunately, it’s not. In fact, it’s only been passed in 10 states—the latest being Nebraska.
Nebraska joins California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Colorado, Washington, Virginia, Delaware, and Connecticut in the fight to protect employees and students who choose to wear their hair in styles including braids, locs, or rock their natural curls and coils.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts signed LB 451 into law, which will go into effect 60 days after the legislature ends its current session. Ricketts previously vetoed the bill, arguing that it didn’t focus on “immutable race characteristics.”
“We want to thank all the Black women who shared their stories and trusted us to lead this work,” the Instagram account I Be Black Girl, a vocal proponent of the Crown Act, posted. “A huge thank you to Senator Terrell McKinney and his office, Dr. Wendy Greene, The Women’s Fund of Omaha and all other partners that helped advocate – we did it!”
The Crown Act was 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. It ensures that a person who chooses to wear their hair natural or in protective styles will not be penalized. It’s common for Black women to be told their hair is “unprofessional” when they choose to wear it in a way that doesn’t fit in with the Eurocentric standard of beauty.
Last fall, the Crown Act was passed on a federal level by the U.S. House of Representatives, but it’s yet to be passed by the Senate. When the act is passed, it will make hair discrimination illegal in every state. Until then, you can sign the official petition to request lawmakers in your state support the bill.