(BOSTON – 07/18/2022) On Monday, the Massachusetts State Senate enacted the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or style in Massachusetts. Having been enacted in both the Senate and the House, the bill now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.

The CROWN Act prohibits denial of employment and educational opportunities in places of work, schools, and school-related organizations on account of hair texture or protective hairstyles, such as braids, locks, and twists, used by people by color. Hair-based discrimination has excluded people of color from classrooms and workplaces, with serious academic and economic consequences.

“We have given people the right to present our authentic selves, without fear of discrimination. Thanks to the Senate President and my fellow Senators we have given constituents the freedom to be themselves,” said Michael D. Brady (D-Brockton).

This legislation was inspired in part by two Black teenagers from Malden, Mya and Deanna Cook, who were punished by their school and barred from extracurricular activities for wearing their hair in braids. After gaining national attention and organizing public protests, the school eventually reversed their policy. The CROWN Act will protect Massachusetts children from experiencing this kind of discrimination.

The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Coalition has played a crucial role in supporting the passage of this legislation in Massachusetts and in states across the country. Massachusetts will soon join 17 other states that have passed some version of the CROWN Act, which has also been proposed at the federal level.