San Antonio women react to Gov. Greg Abbott signing CROWN Act into law

This week, Gov. Greg Abbott ceremoniously signed the Crown Act into law at the state capital.

SAN ANTONIO – As we prepare to commemorate Juneteenth on Monday, women in San Antonio are reflecting on how the CROWN Act law will prohibit discrimination based on hair texture.

The CROWN Act stands for “Creating a Respectful Open World for Natural Hair.” This law will prohibit institutions like colleges or universities, school districts, employers or labor unions from discriminating against any protected hairstyle as part of a dress code.

Professional Loctician, Britney Grant, works at Braids on Phire in San Antonio. She has been doing hair since she was a little girl.

Grant said this new law has a profound meaning, just like locs, a style rooted in cultural identity, heritage and personal transformation.

“For Black people, it is definitely a spiritual journey. Our hair is our strength. We’re sun people; we get our energy from the sun. When I’m talking to my clients, I’m giving them energy. Their hair is giving me energy. It’s just a bond,” Grant explained.

She had a conversation with one of her clients who is considering chopping his locs after college in an effort to be considered for more corporate jobs.

This is what he told her, “I’m starting a new job up north in Dallas and it’s a corporate job and you know, they haven’t seen my hair. I’m kind of nervous. I don’t really know how I should have it, but I don’t want to cut my locs,” she paraphrased.

Another one of her clients, Kristin Sharpe, hopes to see enforcement of the CROWN Act among organizations and businesses.

“A lot of companies are missing out on great people...I’m glad I did start the journey because now everyone sees me for who Kristen really is,” she shared.

Moving forward, both ladies agreed they want to see more representation of natural hairstyles, including more men with locs in media.

“I would like to see them using more people of color who have natural hairstyles in their marketing campaigns,” Grant said.

Austin was the first city in Texas to approve the CROWN Act last year in June.

Texas and 21 other states have also made the CROWN Act law. The law will go into effect statewide on Sept 1.

About the Authors

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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