When it comes to fashion, Detroit is a city that knows how to make a statement. A hot spot for the latest styles, it’s also become a hub for natural hair enthusiasts who embrace their locks in all shapes and sizes. But despite the embrace of natural hair, discrimination still persists.
That’s why a coalition of state lawmakers have come together to introduce the Crown Act and Sara Anthony is leading the charge. The Crown Act (Create Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) works to ensure protection against discrimination of hair texture and protective styles, such as braids and twists, in the workplace and public schools. In the last few years, this legislation has been introduced multiple times in Michigan, but with no action from the legislature, only parts of Michigan like Detroit and Oakland County have adopted the Crown Act.
Michigan is one of 30 states that have protections against hair discrimination on the books. Anthony’s proposed legislation for Michigan would protect all individuals from discrimination based on their hair styles, including locks, afros, braids, and twists. By protecting individuals from discrimination, this act would help close the gap in educational, career, and economic opportunities for many minorities. In the fight against hair discrimination, Anthony has seen cases of discrimination like one biracial girl in 2019 who had her hair cut by a teacher and there were also multiple children who were denied access to healthcare, educational opportunities, and other services because of their hair.
The time is now for Michigan to get on board and protect its citizens from the backlash they face when expressing themselves through natural hair. As one stylist puts it “You discriminate me because I how I wear my hair and you don’t know me at all.” Over 20 states have already passed the Crown Act and with a democratic majority that listens to the will of the people, hopefully Michigan can be the 21st.
Anthony hopes to see this legislation passed into law before the end of the year. She believes that if we are able to pass legislation to protect people from discrimination for the style of their hair, we will be able to create a more inclusive society where everyone can wear their hair as they see fit without fear of judgement or punishment.
At the end of the day, natural hair should be embraced and respected. It can be beneficial in many ways, from being processed and permed and pressed and broken down, to having it growing naturally strong and healthy. Let’s make sure that everyone in Michigan, no matter how they choose to style their hair, is protected and free to express themselves without fear of discrimination.
As always, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for regular updates on all things Detroit and more.