CROWN Act makes strides in state legislature, reaches Gov. Abbott’s desk

House Bill 567, aka the CROWN Act, has now reached Governor Greg Abbott’s desk.
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 7:28 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - House Bill 567, aka the CROWN Act, has now reached Governor Greg Abbott’s desk. The CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. If signed, the bill would prohibit discrimination based on hair texture or protective hairstyles associated with race.

More specifically, Texas legislators report this would prevent people from being denied employment or housing if they choose to wear their hair in styles like braids, twists or locs. Legislatures have been working on getting the CROWN Act to pass the Senate floor since 2021.

For personal banking officer Katherine Moore, this issue is personal. She currently wears her hair in spring twists, a protective style, but said her hair hasn’t always been accepted by superiors.

“If I talked about getting my hair braided or locced or anything like that, they required that I submit a picture so that they would know and be able to determine whether or not it was deemed professional enough,” Moore said.

Like Moore, her four children wear natural or protective hairstyles. She said they’ve all experienced discrimination because of their hair. Research shows that kids as young as 5-years-old are experiencing hair discrimination.

“Those conversations are very heartbreaking,” Moore said. “We’re having to expose a different level of discrimination to them at such early ages.”

Cosmetology instructor and stylist Leah Smith has also experienced this firsthand. She now wears her natural curls but experienced people giving her unsettling looks when wearing her hair in locs.

“It would make me think about what does this person actually think when they see my hair,” Smith said. “Are they thinking about me as a person or are they thinking about ‘wow, her hair looks nasty or it looks unkept.’”

Both Smith and Moore said the CROWN Act is a step in a positive direction, but it shouldn’t take legislation to allow men and women to live authentically.

“We have to worry about these things, and it’s a scale that’s not comparing with the abilities of a person,” Smith said.

Moore said she hopes this sparks more conversations in places like work and schools.

“Truthfully, we’re not ever going to be able to stop it but maybe we can get a little further so that we don’t have to have legislation in order for someone to just simply be,” Moore said.

To learn more about the CROWN Act, click here.