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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: June 12, 2023 01:22 PM
From: Representative La'Tasha D. Mayes and Rep. Joanna E. McClinton
To: All House members
Subject: CROWN Act: Ending Hair Type, Hair Texture and Hairstyle Discrimination
Have you ever thought about changing your hairstyle for a job interview or have you ever been told that your hair is not professional or appropriate? Have you ever been denied access to a school, social venue, or job solely based on your type of hair or hairstyle? Have you ever had to cut your hair before you participated in a sport or activity? If not, then consider yourself lucky.

Far too often, people of color – and particularly Black Americans – are subjected to these incidents of discrimination and although strides have been made to end discrimination through policy, it still exists in reality.

We 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 type, hair texture or hairstyle.

Twenty-two (22) states including New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee and Illinois have passed the CROWN Act into law. Also, twenty-one (21) states have introduced or circulated this legislation and both the City of Philadelphia and the City of Pittsburgh have already passed the CROWN Act.

We know that subtle and overt forms of discrimination occur when individuals are singled out for having hairstyles outside of the “norm” of what our society deems to be “acceptable,” “proper,” or “professional.” Unfortunately, anti-discrimination laws do not necessarily keep pace with changing workplace, educational or social environments and this leaves people at risk of becoming targets of discrimination.

Dreads, locs, braids, twists, coils, Bantu knots, cornrows, afros and extensions are typically associated with Black Americans. Historically, these hair styles have created a problem for many human resources managers, educators and coaches, who want employees, students, or participants to follow established policies and maintain a uniform “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 type, hair texture or hairstyle. Please join us in continuing the fight to eradicate discrimination in all its forms by co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

Introduced as HB1394