Thursday, Governor Jay Inslee signed HB 2602 to prevent hair discrimination in Washington State. Sponsored by Rep. Melanie Morgan (D-Parkland), this legislation amends the definition of racial discrimination to include discrimination based on hair texture or protective coverings. Nationwide, this law is known as the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act.
“Black women should not be barred from success because of the way we wear our hair,” said Morgan.
She continued, “The way we choose to style our hair is culturally meaningful, and it has no impact on our abilities to show up professionally, hygienically, and naturally at work and school. We are sending a message to our children, ‘You are beautiful just the way you are.’”
Morgan also added that hair-altering treatments can be expensive, time consuming, and physically harmful for women, children, and men.
The law will now legally protect locks, braids, afros, twists, and protective hair coverings under Washington’s existing racial discrimination laws.
Washington is the sixth state to ban discriminatory treatment based on hair. California, New Jersey, and New York have also passed the CROWN Act, with Colorado and Virginia joining them earlier this month.
The new law takes effect in June this year.