The Austin City Council approved implementing the Austin CROWN Act.
The Austin City Council approved implementing the Austin CROWN Act. The CROWN Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. Discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle results in a denial of basic civil rights, including educational, housing, employment opportunities and places of public accommodation.
Approving the CROWN Act amends City Code to revise the definition of “Discriminatory Employment Practice” to include “Protective Hairstyles”. This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
Austin City Council had directed the City Manager to work with stakeholders, including civil rights organizations, organizations representing the interests of workers and protected classes, and businesses, on further recommendations for this civil rights ordinance and for the Civil Rights Office. That included hosting community forums to share and gather information about community needs and protections necessary for people to be themselves and comfortable with wearing their natural hair and protective hair styles to work, in educational environments, in housing, the business space and everywhere we exist.
“Austin will be a much better City for the protections we will bring to those who live, work and play here. Too often minorities are judged not only by the color of their skin, but also by the texture of their hair,” said Civil Rights Officer Carol Johnson. “Across the country we continue to see the harmful effects of racial discrimination due to natural hair and many states and cities are finding ways to address this through CROWN Act legislation.”
The CROWN Act was first introduced in 2019 to eliminate hair discrimination across the country as part of a national movement driven by the CROWN Coalition. United States House passed the CROWN Act in March of this year and now the bill is heading to the Senate for a vote. The City’s CROWN Act resolution/ordinance will ensure that discrimination can be addressed before protections are introduced nationally.
“The impact of race-based hair discrimination can last a lifetime,” said Johnson. “We know that discrimination hurts and this is particularly harrowing when it impacts our children, scarring their self-esteem.”
For more information on the Office of Civil Rights visit: Office of Civil Rights | AustinTexas.gov