Colorado has joined four other states in banning natural hair discrimination after Gov. Jared Polis signed the CROWN Act into law Friday evening.
The governor signed House Bill 1048 at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, a studio and performing arts school based in African-American traditions.
California was the first pass a law banning this type of discrimination as part of the CROWN — Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair — movement, a coalition co-founded by Dove and other organizations to end this type of discrimination.
“When someone chooses to celebrate their natural hair, we should join them in that celebration and not discriminate against them,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, one of the bill’s sponsors.
Hair discrimination is real, Herod, D-Denver, said, so supporters wanted to make sure it was no longer legal.
She and her co-sponsors brought forward the bill because of examples of children getting bullied and suspended from school as well as workplace discrimination and harassment.
When Colorado’s Black Democratic Legislative Caucus held a hearing at the Capitol about the act, more than 100 people attended, many sharing stories of direct and subtle discrimination because of their natural or curly hair. They talked about embarrassment, intimidation and retribution.
“I am just really overwhelmed and appreciative of the outpouring of community support around the CROWN Act,” Herod said.
The bill references protection from discrimination against natural hair, commonly experienced by people who are black, Jewish, Latinx or of Native American descent. It would apply to public education, employment practices, housing, public accommodations and advertising.
(1/2) #TheCROWNAct has passed the House and Senate and will be signed into law TODAY! Be a part of Colorado history and join us at 5 PM at @CPRDance to watch the singing. Here are some of the highlights of our journey. #coleg #copolitics @SenRhondaFields @repjanetbuckner @GovofCO pic.twitter.com/GoYH2SFauE
— Leslie Herod (@leslieherod) March 6, 2020
Some lawmakers who opposed the bill said they felt the protections for such discrimination were already in place, and business owners should have the authority to dictate dress codes at places of work. However, some businesses backed the bill, as did the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
This content was originally published here.