Abbott signs into law CROWN Act banning race-based hair discrimination

Dakari Davis, an transit police officer in Dallas, speaks about the racial discrimination he faced in the workplace due to his hairstyle during a press conference advocating for the passage of the CROWN Act on April 13. (Leila Saidane/The Texas Tribune, Leila Saidane/The Texas Tribune)

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Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill prohibiting race-based hair discrimination in Texas workplaces, schools and housing policies.

House Bill 567, introduced by Democratic Rep. Rhetta Bowers of Rowlett, sailed through both chambers of the Legislature with overwhelming support after the same bill stalled during the legislative session in 2021. The policy, which Abbott signed Saturday, will go into effect Sept. 1.

Twenty states have passed the CROWN Act — an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, according to the CROWN Coalition, an organization that champions the legislation. Harris County, the state’s most populous, and the city of Austin have adopted versions of the legislation.

“I am incredibly thankful to the Governor for signing the CROWN Act into law,” Bowers said in a statement, thanking Sen. Borris L. Miles, a Houston Democrat who sponsored the bill in the Senate, and Adjoa B. Asamoah, who co-founded the CROWN Coalition. “The CROWN Act is a civil rights law that will improve the lives of countless Texans, and it will be appreciated by more people than we can imagine.”

Asamoah, who conceptualized the law in 2018, said she was “overjoyed.”

“I’m forever grateful for the servant leadership of Representative Bowers and Senator Miles,” Asamoah said. “They both embody what it means to lead boldly and commit to ushering a bill across the finish line.”

The movement against natural hair discrimination reached national headlines in 2020 with a series of instances, including two students near Houston who were told to cut their hair or be disciplined.

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