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Tucson bans hair discrimination

Tucson bans hair discrimination
© Getty Images

The city of Tucson, Ariz., on Tuesday voted to ban dress codes that discriminate against hair textures and styles in schools and workplaces.

As the Arizona Daily Star reports, the Tucson City Council voted to pass the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, or CROWN Act. Tucson becomes the 10th city in the U.S. pass such an ordinance.

“We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force, according to the newspaper. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.”

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Sykes cited studies that showed Black women are significantly more likely to be sent home from their jobs because of their hair and are more likely to feel they have to change it to fit in at work.

The Daily Star reports that the new rule will apply to any business or facility that has public accommodations. Those that are found to be in violation of the rule are subject to civil penalties.

“We should be so much better than that in this community, and we are,” said councilman Steve Kozachik (D), who introduced the bill along with Tucson Vice Mayor Nikki Lee (D).

Kozachik had previously said it was “disgusting, demeaning and discriminatory” for some students to be forced to cut their hair to participate in sports, the newspaper notes.

California was the first state in the U.S. to pass a hair discrimination bill in 2019.

"The history of our nation is riddled with laws and societal norms that equated 'blackness,' and the associated physical traits, for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair to a badge of inferiority, sometimes subject to separate and unequal treatment," reads the California measure.

Later that year, New York state passed Assembly Bill 07797, which "prohibits race discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles."