CROWN Day celebrated in Birmingham

Fighting against hair discrimination
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 9:32 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 2, 2022 at 10:48 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - July 3 is National CROWN Day, the unofficial holiday that celebrates afro-textured hair.

On July 2, the local CROWN Campaign celebrated the day by honoring those making significant strides to end hair discrimination.

Seven people were recognized for their efforts, including Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge, Carole Smitherman.

National Crown Day commemorates the inaugural signing of the first CROWN Act legislation, which passed in California on July 3, 2019.

The CROWN Act stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”

It’s a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination that denies people employment and educational opportunities because of the texture of their hair and they hairstyles they chose to wear.

To date, the CROWN Act, or legislation inspired by it, has been signed in 16 states and efforts to get it passed here in Alabama are on-going.

“The reason it’s important is because you don’t want to have to walk into the room and change your identity. You’re almost like a chameleon. You’re not able to flow and be free of who you are and love yourself. You almost have to turn into somebody else to come in and do your own job,” said Alabama CROWN Campaign Ambassador, LaShawn Hill.

“It would be a huge victory. I think it would give a sense of comfort and just relief for people and natural hairstyles that they don’t have to worry about, ‘How does my hair look? Will this keep me from getting my dream job? Will I be discriminated against when I go into a workplace if I get braids, or if I get twists, or if I decide to have an afro?’ Because honestly, I don’t think any other race has to deal with being discriminated against their hair the way we have,” said Birmingham City Council President Pro Tem, Crystal Smitherman.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill in March of this year at the federal level, and if approved by senate, and the president, the law would automatically apply to all 50 states.

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