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Orlando lawmaker files bill to outlaw natural hair discrimination

Senate Bill 566 known as the CROWN Act

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Central Florida lawmaker filed a bill that would outlaw natural hair discrimination based on race associated hairstyles and textures.

State Sen. Randolph Bracy, D-Orlando, filed Senate Bill 566, also known as the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural” hair act.

He said African Americans face hair discrimination at the workplace and in schools every day, adding many are forced to change their appearances.

“As a result, countless people of color, particularly women, have felt compelled to undergo time-consuming, costly, and damaging measures to adhere to Eurocentric standards of professionalism,” Bracy said.

If the bill becomes law, Florida would join other states, including California and New York, which also have similar measures in place that outlaws hair discrimination based on race associated styles and textures.

“I think that a lot of people would feel a lot more confident if they had protections if they had state law protecting them, if they couldn’t be reprimanded or if there would be retribution if they had their hair in a natural state,” Bracy said.

Nikitra Martin has been a client at Cheyrl Couture Salon in Pine Hills for almost eight years. She said she would like to wear her hair natural, but can’t because it wouldn’t be acceptable at her financial job.

"Personally I prefer locks, I prefer braids, different natural hairstyles. But I noticed that when I did have braids I wasn't promoted as much, I wasn't elevated as much," Martin said. "But once I took on the 'look of corporate America,' that's when I began to get the opportunities of stepping into management."

Secily Wilson said her daughter was reprimanded for wearing her natural hair to school two years ago. She believes this bill will allow people to be their true selves. She adds people are more than just their hair.

"We want you to see us for who we are and what we bring to the table. That's why there is a need," Wilson said.

Bracy said SB 566 was expected to be heard during a committee hearing in December.


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