Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

February 24, 2021

Senator Kushner Applauds House Passage of the C.R.O.W.N. Act, Which Prevents Discrimination Against Natural Hair

Today, the Connecticut House of Representatives passed the C.R.O.W.N. Act, legislation that would prohibit discrimination against individuals for wearing ethnic hairstyles, State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury) applauded the move, which seeks to create a more equitable workplace for all. This key legislation takes an important step to ensure individuals will not be discriminated against for wearing their natural hair, and Sen. Kushner affirmed her commitment to vote in favor when it reaches the Senate.

“We have a great responsibility as lawmakers to root out systemic racism and make Connecticut a better place for everyone to work, to go to school, to live and to raise a family. Ending discrimination for wearing a natural hair style, and the House’s vote today in support of the C.R.O.W.N. Act, moves us closer to that goal,” said Sen. Kushner. “In the public hearing on this bill, we heard from Black and Brown women who had been told they don’t fit in, or that they don’t look “professional” enough because of the way they wear their hair. I applaud my Labor and Public Employees co-chair Representative Porter, and the House’s passage of this bill and will proudly advocate for its passage in the Senate.”

The C.R.O.W. N. Act, House Bill 6515, seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of ethnic hairstyles historically associated with race, specifically adding two key qualifiers to current statute. It expands the definition of “race” in the state’s antidiscrimination laws to be inclusive of traits like hair texture and protective hairstyles, which can include braids, locs and twists, that are historically associated with an individual’s race, and therefore individuals cannot face punishment or different treatment for having them.

This legislation comes at an important time, as currently, up to 80 percent of Black women have said they feel they need to change their natural hair to fit in at their workplace. Further studies show Black women are more than three times as likely to have their hairstyles called “unprofessional” compared to white women, and that Black women are also 50 percent more likely than white women to have been sent home from the workforce solely due to their hair. This will have multiple positive impacts, not only ending discrimination against people of color based on hair but affirming that Black and Brown people do not need to change aspects of their own natural appearance to “fit in,” further removing pressures of discrimination.