Following Minnesota’s successful passage of the CROWN Act, which prohibits schools, businesses and beyond to discriminate based on natural hair, Michigan lawmakers are now pushing to do the same.
The state’s Senate introduced the CROWN Act Tuesday, advocating that discriminating against someone based on their hair could have harmful financial and emotional impacts.
“However God created our hair to grow out of our scalp is often deemed unprofessional,” said bill sponsor Sen. Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing, at a press conference after introducing the bill.
She added that she has had scores of women come to her saddened that they were denied a job or new role based on their refusal to chemically straighten their hair. In one instance, she recalled, a Black man explained to her that he was refused hospital care because a medical professional did not want to touch his hair.
Sen. Ericka Giess, D-Taylor, who also chairs the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, said that passing the Act would make significant strides in the fight against bigotry, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared was unconstitutional during her January State of the State address.
“What you bring to the table is more important, or should be more important than how people perceive you,” Geiss said.
Should the bill be brought into law, policymakers would ensure that it included language into the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, “prohibiting discrimination based on hair texture and race-based hairstyles, including braids, dreadlocks, twists and afros,” according to an MLive Media Group report,” adding that “The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act currently bans discrimination in Michigan in areas like employment, education and housing on the basis of religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.”
Senator Anthony says she hopes the legislation passes in time for CROWN day on July 3 and added that she would work to make that possible from now until that time.