On February 6, Montgomery County officially became the first United States county to ban discrimination based on hairstyles.
The unanimous vote by Montgomery County Council ensure protection against discrimination based on hairstyles under the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act. Originally introduced by Montgomery County Council member Will Jawanda and Council President Nancy Navarro, this legislation will prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles such as braids, locks, afros, curls and twists
“It will expand the definition of race to include natural hairstyles, like Afros, twists, Bantu knots and protective hairstyles like braids, that people of African descent wear,” Jawando said in an interview with ABC Washington D.C. station WTOP.
“We have over 200,000 black and Latina women in Montgomery County, many of whom get up every day and make decisions about how they are going to present themselves to the world,” Jawando said.
Montgomery County follows similar legislation passed on the state level in California, New York, and New Jersey. United States Senator Cory Booker announced a federal bill in December 2019 to ban natural hair discrimination at the federal level.