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Jackson City Council backs legislation that would end discrimination based on hair texture, style

Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee.
Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee.(City of Jackson)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 3:42 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The 2022 legislative session is still nearly six months away, but the Jackson City Council is sending a strong message that it unanimously backs a bill banning discrimination based on natural hair.

Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a resolution backing The CROWN Act, a measure designed to end discrimination based on hair texture and styles.

CROWN, which means Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, has been passed in more than a dozen states

The law prohibits the “denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots,” according to TheCrownAct.com.

“A lot of times African Americans have been discriminated (against) and denied employment and education based on their hair texture,” said Ward 2 Councilwoman Angelique Lee.

Lee hopes that the resolution will push the legislature to act on a bill that failed to make it out of committee during the session earlier this year.

District 26 Rep. Orlando Paden authored H.B. 1189, which would have prohibited the creation of workplace and school policies that discriminate based on natural hairstyles and would have allowed those discriminated against to file suit.

The measure failed to make it out of the House’s Judiciary B and Workforce Development committees.

Mississippi was one of many states where hair discrimination acts were filed but failed to pass, TheCrownAct.com states.

“As a mother of two Black girls who have natural hair, this is why I brought this forward for all young women who have been discriminated or could possibly be discriminated (against) and men,” she said.

The measure was approved on a 7-0 vote, with the mayor throwing up his hand in a symbolic gesture of support.

“As a son, sibling, and father of women with natural hair, I’ve heard many accounts of discrimination and misunderstanding around the natural texture of people’s hair and how they are treated in the workplace,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.

Ward Four Councilman Brian Grizzell, who joked that even though he was bald, he too was going to back the resolution.

“I remember when I was in business school at Jackson State... we were always taught you were to have a nice, clean low cut. You could have waves, but you dare not have locs. You dare not have twists,” he said. “And ladies, you perm your hair and curl it.

“African Americans were denied admissions into business school because of how they looked,” he said. “I really support this (because) this shows we’ve come a long way.”

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