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Hicks-Hudson, Ingram Introduce C.R.O.W.N. Act

December 15, 2023
Catherine D. Ingram News

This week, state Senators Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) introduced Senate Bill 204, the C.R.O.W.N. Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) in the Senate.  The C.R.O.W.N. Act prohibits discrimination against an individual because of traits associated with an individual’s race, including protection of hair texture and protective and cultural hairstyles, such as braids, locks, and twists, in employment, places of public accommodation, housing, and credit practices.

“As an amazing songstress once said, ‘I am not my hair,’” Ingram said. “Which says that none of us should be judged or discriminated against simply because of a cultural choice as to how one wears their hair. This bill should be unnecessary. Unfortunately, because of the negative actions of some employers, educational institutions, and other organizations, we reintroduce this bill today.”

The C.R.O.W.N. Act has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by state Representatives Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) and Jamie Callender (R-Concord). Senator Hicks-Hudson previously introduced the bill in the 133rd and 134th General Assemblies.

"People should not be judged by the natural, physical characteristics of something so personal as one’s hair. Unfortunately, young people are being suspended from their schools or forced to cut or change their hairstyles, employees are discriminated against because of a hairstyle," Hicks-Hudson said. “It has nothing to do with a student’s ability to achieve academically, or an employee’s to perform their job. Instead, the message is being sent to people of color that their natural hair and cultural expression is wrong.”

To date, 23 states and numerous cities, including Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Newburgh Heights, have already passed a version of the C.R.O.W.N. Act.

Senate Bill 204 now awaits hearings in the Senate Government Oversight Committee.