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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County now makes it illegal to discriminate against people based on hairstyles.

County Executive Frank White signed the CROWN Act. The executive order goes into effect immediately.

The CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It protects against discrimination in the workplace and schools for people with hairstyles such as braids, locs, afros, curls and twists.

“For far too long, black people have felt undue pressure by society to look a certain way to fit in or get a job. That ends today in Jackson County,” White, Jr. said. “I want Jackson County to be a place where my grandchildren know they can be themselves regardless of how they decide to wear their hair. Choosing a hairstyle is an important, personal choice for Black people that reflects their culture and ethnicity and we cannot allow that self-expression to be suppressed.”

A recent CROWN study conducted by the JOY Collective indicates that:

  • 80% of Black women say they have to change their “hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.”
  • Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.
  • Black women’s hair is 3.4 times more likely to be perceived as unprofessional.
  • Black women are 83% more likely to report being judged more harshly on their looks than white women.

Kansas City’s City Council passed its own version of the CROWN Act in October 2020.

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