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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: March 2, 2021 10:07 AM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton and Rep. Summer Lee
To: All House members
Subject: CROWN Act - Hair Type and Hairstyle Discrimination
Have you ever thought about changing your hairstyle for a job interview or been told that your hair or hairstyle is not professional or appropriate? Have you ever been denied access to a school, a social venue, or job solely based on your type of hair or hairstyle?  Have you ever had to cut your hair before you participate in a sport or activity?  If not, then consider yourself lucky. Far too often, minorities – and particularly African Americans – are subjected to these kinds of incidents of discrimination; and although strides have been made to eradicate discrimination, it still exists so there is still work to be done.

We respectfully ask for your support for legislation we intend to introduce known as The Pennsylvania CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.  This legislation would prohibit discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or hair style.  To date several states have enacted similar CROWN Act bills.  They include New York, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington.  At least 23 additional states are considering similar legislation, and several local jurisdictions have already passed it. Additionally, there is a companion bill in the Senate, in Philadelphia City Council, and in the U.S. House.

We know that subtle forms of discrimination occur when individuals are singled out for having hairstyles outside the norm of what “society “deems to be acceptable, proper, or professional. Unfortunately, anti-discrimination laws do not necessarily keep pace with changing workplace, educational or social environments, this leaves people at risk of becoming targets of discrimination. Dreadlocks, braids, twist, bantu knots and afros are typically hairstyles associated with African Americans. Historically these hairstyles create a problem for many human resources managers, educators, and coaches, who want employees, students, or participants to follow established policies and maintain a uniformed “neat” appearance regardless of culture or ethnicity.

We can no longer standby while individuals are being targeted, harassed, and denied access to opportunities based on their hair texture or hairstyle. Please join us in continuing the fight to eradicate discrimination of any kind by co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

Introduced as HB1066