According to Michigan State Senator Sarah Anthony, hair discrimination is an issue that needs to be addressed. Anthony sponsored Senate legislation aimed at banning hair discrimination in the workplace, calling it the Crown Act.
Senator Anthony said after she proposed the bill, she was given pushback and had no co-sponsors and not much interest from others in her bill. She described being pushed to put forth more important legislation, “things that really mattered, things of substance like tax policy.” She said she was discouraged and wondered if this was an issue that needed to be focused on or not.
In late May, Anthony tweeted that she was “proud to announce” that the Senate had passed the Crown Act. She went on to describe how African Americans, especially professional black women, suffer from being retaliated against and reprimanded because of their hairstyles in the workplace. As a Senator, she said she was able to escape this, “This is unique to being a lawmaker,” she continued,
“Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Michiganders, particularly African American Michiganders, as well as individuals around the country. In 2019 I first introduced the Crown Act here in the State of Michigan. Crown stands for ‘Creating a respectful and open world for natural hair,’ and this is intended to prohibit race-based discrimination.”
Proud to announce that today, the Michigan Senate passed the #CROWNAct
— Sarah Anthony (@SarahAnthony517) May 23, 2023
The CROWN Act also passed through the Michigan House on June 8 and is headed to the Governor’s desk. According to NPR’s Detroit Station, “Proponents of the bill are hopeful it can help correct the history of discrimination Afro-centric hairstyles have faced in the workplace.”
👑Today, the Michigan House took one step closer to signing legislation aiming to end natural hair discrimination by passing the Crown Act. Next stop: @GovWhitmer’s desk for her signature!https://t.co/ZUGd9XKV4I pic.twitter.com/rVhSt6xhM4
— Progress Michigan (@ProgressMich) June 8, 2023
Michigan State University conducted a 2020 study and found that Black women who wear their hair naturally are viewed as less competent and professional, which affects their ability to obtain interviews or secure jobs. The Michigan Legislative Black Caucus tweeted, “Black folks know – it’s not ‘just hair.’ Michiganders should be all to wear their hair in styles historically associated with race without fear of discrimination.”
The MI House passed the #CROWNAct! Black folks know— it's not "just hair." Michiganders should be able to wear their hair in styles historically associated with race without fear of discrimination. As Rep. Kristian Grant explains, today, we're one step closer. pic.twitter.com/TgvPEzV4R0
— Michigan Legislative Black Caucus (@MI_LBC) June 9, 2023
Twenty states have passed legislation similar to the Crown Act, hoping to protect workplace hairstyles and textures. Michigan will become the 21st once Gov Whitmer signs the bill into law. According to Detroit News Reporter Beth LeBlanc, the legislation passed the Michigan House 100-7.
Sen Sarah Anthony watches the vote board as the House passes the CROWN Act 100-7.
Anthony’s bill, which prohibits discrimination against race-based hairstyles, will be enrolled in the Senate, then sent to the gov for signature.
Anthony’s been working to pass the bill since 2019 pic.twitter.com/33tP3pORZU
— Beth LeBlanc (@DNBethLeBlanc) June 8, 2023