The Crown Act: Pa. lawmakers trying to make hair discrimination illegal

HARRISBURG, Pa. — There is a new bill making its way through legislation in Pennsylvania: the Crown Act.

It stands for “creating a respectful and open world for natural hair," and it would make discrimination based on hair styles or textures illegal.

If you want to receive local news alerts, please download our WPXI News App. You can also follow WPXI on Facebook and Twitter.

Rep. Summer Lee (D-Allegheny County) is one of the bill’s sponsors.

“To be told that not only is it lesser, but it’s unacceptable, it hurts our psyche, it hurts our conscience and it hurts our development," Lee said. “As we see with schools all across our country, young Black boys and girls are being suspended because of the way that they show up because of their hair.”

According to the Crown Coalition, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair. Lee told Channel 11 this prejudice is especially prevalent in schools as well.

In January, a Central Catholic student was told to change his hair or go home. Julian Younger started a petition to lift Central Catholic’s ban on braids and twists.

Despite getting tens of thousands of signatures, the policy still stands.

Right now, the Crown Act is law in these seven states: California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Washington.

Twin bills are being introduced in both chambers of Pa.'s general assembly. Channel 11 will track their progress and report what happens.