Mayor Peduto submits bill to prevent hair discrimination to Pittsburgh city council

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto submitted a bill to the city council Monday that would offer protection from hair discrimination for Black residents.

The Crown Act, which stands for “creating a respectful and open world for natural hair,” would make discrimination based on hair styles or textures illegal. This includes employment, housing, education and public accommodations.

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In a news release, Peduto’s office said that “Black individuals' natural hair grows in different textures, lengths, and colors, and can be worn in a variety of hairstyles, which hold cultural and personal significance in the Black community. However, modern ideas of professionalism tend to reflect European or white standards.”

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.

“The City of Pittsburgh is committed to equity and to eliminating the barriers that unfairly affect our communities,” Peduto said in the release. “Black hair is and always has been professional, but that has not always been reflected by employers, schools, or agencies in this city. This legislation affirms our commitment to improving outcomes for Black residents and make certain that they do not face natural hair discrimination in the workplace, when searching for a home, or when entering a business.”

Right now, the Crown Act is law in these seven states: California, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Washington. Twin bills were introduced in both chambers of Pa.'s general assembly, but it’s unclear when they could move forward.