Julie Kushner

State Senator

Julie Kushner

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working Together for Progress

March 1, 2021

Senator Kushner Applauds Approval of C.R.O.W.N. Act Protecting Natural Hair

Today, State Senator Julie Kushner (D-Danbury), as Senate Chair of the Labor Committee, brought out the C.R.O.W.N., or “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” Act, on the Senate Floor, voting in favor of the important anti-discriminatory legislation that prevents anyone from being treated differently for the act of wearing their natural hair.

“As lawmakers, we need to make Connecticut a better place for all of us to live our lives. Every one of us has a responsibility to do whatever we can to benefit our constituents. Ending systemic racism is one of the most effective ways we can do just that,” said Sen. Kushner. “The stories I’ve heard from constituents, from leaders and the lived experience of my Black and Brown colleagues in the House and Senate, are proof we need to address this issue. This is the first piece of legislation we will approve this year that intentionally addresses systemic racism, but I am confident it will not be the last. It is my belief that every piece of legislation we pass this session should be viewed through a racial equity lens. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues today and I’m proud of the work of all of my colleagues to fight for this bill’s passing.”

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 color 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 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.