Committee to vote on new ordinance in push to end hair discrimination in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The push to end discrimination in Kansas City will take another step forward.

Wednesday morning the finance committee will vote on a new ordinance called The CROWN Act. It’s short for Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.

“We know that we are a better Kansas City when we allow people to show up and be themselves and not have to worry about things as natural as your hair,” Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said.

During an announcement Tuesday morning, local Black leaders shared their experiences on hair-discrimination.

“When running for office I frequently had to make the decision to am I going to wear my hair curly today or am I going to straighten it because I wanted voters to see me for who I am,” Councilwoman Ryana Park-Shaw said.

They’re hoping The CROWN Act will fix this problem. The law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination.

“We don’t see a lot of opposition that could potentially come from our colleagues,” Councilwoman Robinson said.

Based off the committee vote, it will be sent to a full council vote.

“I didn’t realize how much it meant until I had my son and how much I think about his hair and how the world sees him because of his hair,” Sandra Thornhill said.

Sandra Thornhill is hopeful about the new ordinance and said it would send a positive message to young Black boys like her son, Jerren.

“It sends him a message that you can fully be you,” said Thornhill. “You can be proud of who you are and you can always do whatever Jerren wants to do.”

If the city council passes the law, it will apply to all employers in Kansas City.

It will be considered racial discrimination if someone is denied employment or educational opportunities because of their hair. Employers who violate The CROWN Act will be fined.

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