New York has become the second state in the USA to change the law to protect people from facing unfair treatment and hair discrimination.
Let’s be straightforward here! Historically, Black people, especially Black women and girls have and are more likely to experience hair discrimination because of our afro hair texture – worldwide.
Our natural hair is and has been labelled untamed, unclean and unprofessional because our strands feel, grow, and look different to most people of other races (no excuses made for bias behaviour!)
So, it is wonderful news to read that more law changes have been made in the USA to ban hair discrimination in workplaces, schools and public places. This means it is now illegal to hair discriminate against all people from all races, nationalities and genders in New York.
New York’s Governor, Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to amend the state law to clarify that race discrimination includes biases against hair textures and natural hairstyles.
These amendments to the law will protect people from being harassed, intimidated, disciplined, demoted or dismissed because of their hair texture or the way they style their hair.
Governor Cuomo said:
“For much of our nation’s history, people of colour – particularly women – have been marginalised and discriminated against simply because of their hairstyle or texture.
By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of colour are protected from all forms of discrimination.”
Particularly, the bill amends the Human Rights Law and the Dignity for All Students Act to add new subsections to the definitions of race.
This includes “traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles.”
The bill’s provisions are effective immediately.
Senator Jamaal T. Bailey who represents New York’s 36th State Senate District said:
“The way one chooses to wear their hair should be legally protected and supported – and in New York, now it will be.
I thank Governor Cuomo for supporting and signing this bill that makes New York State a leader when it comes to ending racial discrimination based upon natural hair and hairstyles.
I would also like to thank Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Chief of Staff and Counsel Shontell Smith for their leadership. When leadership is diverse, it understands and is reflective of the communities. Thank you for protecting our crowns”
Stewart-Cousins was elected as Senate Majority Leader in Janauary 2019, said:
“Discriminating against someone because of their hair style or texture is wrong, and now it is also against the law.
We should celebrate the diversity that makes New York State great and that includes respecting the hair style choices of all New Yorkers.
I commend Senator Jamaal Bailey for sponsoring this legislation which the Senate Majority was proud to pass, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law.”
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said:
“No one should face discrimination at school or in the workplace, but too often we see people of colour, particularly women, who are told their hair is unprofessional or not appropriate in public settings.
These discriminatory policies sideline people of colour – keeping children out of their classrooms and diminishing who they are.
That discrimination has no place in New York State. The Assembly Majority will continue to fight so every New Yorker is treated with dignity and respect.”
Tremaine S. Wright, who was elected to the New York State Assembly in 2016, said:
“As a Black woman who prioritises equity and has worn my natural for 17 years, this bill is deeply personal for me.
While chatting with racial and gender equity champion Adjoa B. Asamoah about the longstanding and problematic practice of hair discrimination, I recalled the action Congresswoman Marcia Fudge took during her tenure as Congressional Black Caucus Chair to confront new rules the army proposed to ban hairstyles that would disproportionately impact Black women.
I determined a legislative fix was in order and decided I’d carry the CROWN Act in NY. I am beyond proud to have done so, and for New York to be the first state to have had this historic bill passed in both chambers.
Special thanks to Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart Cousins for their leadership.”
New York unites with California who recently became the first state in the USA to ban hair discrimination. This is a type of discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles, such as afros, braids, cornrows, locs and twists.
CURLYTREATS will continue to update news about The CROWN Act.
For full information see: The Official Campaign of the CROWN Act.