New bill aims to shave off discrimination in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, MN — The CROWN Act is a new bill that would ban discrimination based on hairstyle and texture in the State of Minnesota.

The bill passed through the state House of Representatives 104-25, with support from both parties.

The CROWN Act would ban discrimination in settings like education, employment, and housing.

According to Junior Gregory co-owner of LUKS Beauty Supply in Downtown Duluth, hair is an important form of expression for many BIPOC individuals.

“We take pride in it,” said Gregory, “It’s something that means a lot to us.”

Gregory said oftentimes, BIPOC people feel unfairly judged or discriminated against in professional settings, because of the way they express themselves.

“Some people really won’t leave their house ‘cause their hair’s not done, but if I could just wear my ‘fro and no one is gonna judge me for it, I’d go with it,” said Gregory.

He believes the bill could lift some weight off their shoulders.

“This brings one less thing we have to worry about, if we’re doing things we shouldn’t have to worry about what is natural to us,” he said.

John Staine, who works with the Duluth NAACP, believes the law could change the way people perceive natural hair.

“I remember being in school,” said Staine, “folks used to like put stuff in my hair and throw tissue and erasers, all that stuff and I was told I was the distraction.”

Duluth’s Human Rights Officer, Carl Crawford, thinks the bill indicates that the state is moving in a good direction.

“This is one big first step in the process of Minnesota becoming a true state where equality matters. We’re hoping to see where this goes in the future,” said Crawford.

The bill will move on to the Minnesota State Senate next.

If it passes there, the governor will have the ability to sign it into law.

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