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On Monday, the Tennessee House passed a bill banning race-based discrimination at work, preventing employers from discriminating against hairstyles belonging to an employee’s ethnic group.
The CROWN Act, as known as the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, is a nationwide movement to prevent employers and schools from using hair discrimination to deny employment and educational opportunities due to race-based hairstyles, such as braids, locs, twist or bantu knots, according to the CROWN Act webpage.
Before passing in the House, the CROWN Act passed in the state Senate on April 18, where it was sponsored by Sen. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis. Akbari, who is Black, addressed on Instagram her mother’s efforts to encourage natural hairstyles.
“My mom is known as ‘The Hair Doctor’ and growing up I saw so many people find dignity & self respect in being able to wear their hair naturally. No one should be shamed or denied opportunities because of their natural hair and that’s what the CROWN Act is all about,” said Akbari on Instagram.
Rep. Karen Camper, D-Memphis. sponsored the House equivalent, and since the bill has now passed through the Tennessee General Assembly, the CROWN Act now awaits Gov. Bill Lee’s signature to become law in Tennessee.
If Lee signs the bill, Tennessee will be the first state in the South to have made the CROWN Act law.
On a federal level, the CROWN Act has passed in the U.S. House but has yet to pass through the Senate. Tennessee joins 12 other states, including California and Virginia, that have already implemented their own versions of the bill.
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