Nonprofit The Lemonade Circle pushes to get Crown Act passed in San Antonio

The Crown Act has passed in cities like Austin and Houston, along with 20 states.

SAN ANTONIO – In 2022 after the 94th Academy Awards, while everyone was talking about the infamous Will Smith slap, at KSAT, we decided to focus our attention on hair discrimination.

Specifically, its impact on Black hair.

Since 2019, there’s been a proposed bill hoping to end hair discrimination when it comes to natural hairstyles and textures.

It’s called The Crown Act.

Things were looking up for supporters of The Crown Act when it passed the House of Representatives on March 18, 2022, in the 117th United States Congress.

Nine months later, the measure was blocked in the United States Senate.

But the need to end hair discrimination on natural hairstyles and textures, especially in the Black community is still a must.

Hoping to do that is the local nonprofit, The Lemonade Circle.

Brandi Coleman is the founder and CEO.

“We empower young women of color,” Coleman said. “We do have an emphasis on Black females in fifth and beyond to make lemonade out of lemons through leadership development, civic engagement, community outreach and advocacy.”

She supported the girls from the organization as they meet up with District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez during his open office hours to gain his support for presenting The Crown Act to City Council on March 1st, 2023.

“When the girls presented in front of the council was the girls got to tell their own personal stories of how hair discrimination has impacted them as teenagers just within the schools and when they were growing up,” Coleman said.

That same day, Councilman McKee-Rodriguez filed a Council Consideration Request.

From there starts the long process toward becoming an ordinance.

“It will go to the governance committee, haired by Mayor Ron Nirenberg. And then they would usually, with a staff recommendation, send it to another committee which in this case I would ask for it to go to community health, environment and culture,” McKee-Rodriguez said.

The girls of The Lemonade Circle know getting The Crown Act passed will be hard but not impossible.

It’s passed in cities like Austin and Houston, along with 20 states.

“We’re going to be at the state advocating for our right as a city to create these sort of policies,” Councilman McKee-Rodriguez said. “And until then, we’re going to continue moving the work.”

As for The Lemonade Circle, they have this message to encourage others to support their cause.

“Anybody that has had an issue with hair discrimination or second-guessed themselves when it came down to going to a job interview. And what should, how should I get my hair? Just understanding that our crown has history, {it} has meaning,” Coleman said.

The Lemonade Circle for now has pushed for The Crown Act on the city level but doesn’t plan to stop there.

They are working toward meeting with Bexar County officials, along with area school board members to get it adopted for students and teachers.

About the Authors:

Valerie Gomez is lead video editor and graphic artist for KSAT Explains. She began her career in 2014 and has been with KSAT since 2017. She helped create KSAT’s first digital-only newscast in 2018, and her work on KSAT Explains and various specials have earned her a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media and multiple Emmy nominations.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.