CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – West Virginians have been fighting for the CROWN Act for years. It’s to ban discrimination on natural hairstyles and textures. The bill’s progress is slow, and it’s upsetting supporters of the bill.
The CROWN Act has been in the works for three years. It stands for “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair.” It comes after a 2019 incident in Beckley where a teenager was forced to cut his dreadlocks to play on the basketball team.
The bill has been passed through the Senate but has stalled in the house.
“We know we have support of this bill as Black Policy Day was two weeks ago, and we had young people, we had mothers, we had employers saying that they support the CROWN Act,” Del. Danielle Walker said.
Legislators are upset because the bill has yet to be placed on the Government Organization agenda. Supporters are urging people to reach out to Speaker of the House Robert Hanshaw and Chairman Brandon Steele to get it on the agenda.
“Nobody can control their natural hair; how their coils and their curls grow from their scalp. So, what message are you sending to children,” Del. Walker said.
Saturday is crossover day which means senate bills can come to the house. Del. Walker says this is their chance.
“We need to understand the history and the trauma of natural hair. We need to understand that braiding is more than a technique. It’s our culture. It was the seeds that was placed in braids,” Del. Walker said.
Supporters want the crown act to be a stand-alone bill and not be added with others.
The crown act has already passed in Morgantown, Charleston and Beckley.