ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (KOAT) — Albuquerque city council is preparing to look at an ordinance that will focus on hair discrimination. It’s called the CROWN Act. CROWN is an acronym for creating a respectful world for natural hair. Bantu knots, locks, afros and even box braids are just some of the hairstyles the CROWN Act is seeking to protect.
“Its been really humbling and enlightening to learn just how many people have experienced things,” said Alexandria Taylor, a member of the Central Organizing Committee for CROWN Act New Mexico.
Seven states and many other cities and counties have passed the CROWN Act and now, New Mexico and Albuquerque are working to follow suit.
“I believe that the city of Albuquerque addressing natural hair discrimination will serve to dismantle centuries of unlawful discriminations on the basis of race,” said Torri Jacobus, who runs the Albuquerque Office of Civil Rights.
The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition, to ensure protection against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles, hair texture and protective styles. According to a 2019 Dove CROWN research study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.
“Even though we don’t hear some of these stories, it’s actually perceived that black women are looked at as 3.4 times more unprofessional,” said Albuquerque city councilor Lan Sena.
This ordinance would protect people from that type of discrimination, not only in the workplace, but also in public schools.
“Hair discrimination, that is race based, transcends various levels of society that includes discrimination of middle schoolers, elementary schoolers and high schoolers,” said Albuquerque High School senior Agustin Leon Saenz.
He said it’s about making Albuquerque and New Mexico more accepting for future generations.
Law makers plan to hear a similar piece of legislation this year. The next session is planned to start on Jan. 19. It’s a 60-day session.
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