Afros, braids, twists and dreadlocks, get a big win in the battle over natural hair for people of color. On Tuesday, the Tucson City Council voted unanimously to adopt the "Crown Act".
It's now illegal to discriminate against natural hair in Southern Arizona. The move makes the City of Tucson the 10th city in the country to enact an ordinance to push for hair equality in the workplace. Annie Sykes with the Tucson Black Women’s Task Force says they worked with council member Steve Kozachick and Vice-Mayor Nikki Lee for two months to make the law a reality. She also says it’s a big step in the right direction.
"It’s a choice if I want to wear my natural hair then wear it. We are involved in making sure that women are empowered of all race creeds and colors,” Sykes said.
The "Crown Act" initiative created in 2019 by Dove is known as a movement to create a respectful and open world for natural hair. The idea quickly became a campaign to create laws to stop race-based hair discrimination at schools and jobs because of hair textures and styles.
“We have a vast array of ways in which we wear our hair. You may see someone day with afro-centric hair and the next time you see them they may have pressed it or straightened it or used a chemical treatment. That’s your choice no one should be forcing a choice on you,” Sykes said.
According to a recent survey by Dove and The Crown Coalition who’s leading the charge, about 80% of black women surveyed felt the need to change their hair to fit in at work.
"People won’t fear scrutiny and discrimination in the workplace when expressing their natural beauty in the workplace or anyplace else,” Sykes said.
Right now the coalition has an online petition to help spread the word about fair hair treatment and to get more legislation for more cities and states. So far only 7 states across the country have officially adopted the "Crown Act" as a law. The city of Tucson is expected to make the ordinance part of their anti-discrimination policy by early April.
"We want everybody to feel good about themselves and their hair,” Sykes said.
DETAILS ON THE CROWN ACT AND ONLINE PETITION: https://www.thecrownact.com/ [thecrownact.com]
TUCSON BLACK WOMEN’S TASK FORCE: https://www.blackwomenstaskforce.org/ [blackwomenstaskforce.org]