Connecticut is now the eighth state to have a law that prohibits discrimination against anyone because of the way they choose to wear their hair. Governor Ned Lamont signed the CROWN Act into law at a ceremony in Hartford on Wednesday.
Lamont said the new law means schools and employers would no longer be allowed to discriminate against someone because they decide to wear natural hairstyles like braids, locks, bantu twists, weaves and wigs. The issue disproportionately affected Black and Brown women.
“It’s just a reminder that we are allowed to be who we are. And we celebrate who we are. We celebrate our identity. We celebrate our differences. We celebrate how we dress. We celebrate how we speak. And we celebrate our hair,” Lamont said.
The state law expands the definition of race to include ethnic traits that are associated with hair. State Representative Robin Porter of New Haven sponsored the bill. She said the law is a celebration of freedom.
“Giving Black and Brown people, women, men and children, the room and the opportunity, the space to show up authentically, who we are, and not be defined by the way we wear our hair,” Porter said.
A Dove study found 80% of Black and Brown women reported that they changed their hair from its natural state to fit into the corporate environment.
New York is one of a half dozen dozen other states that ban discrimination based on hairstyle.