Michigan bans discrimination based on hairstyle with Crown Act

More and more cases of discrimination are over how people wear their hair.  For many, hairstyle is part of how they embrace their culture and individuality.

But state officials now say no one can be mistreated because of it and get away with it, thanks to the Crown Act.

"As a Black woman who works in an industry where there aren’t a lot of people who look like me, having the ability to show up authentically at work is very very very affirming," said Jacquelyn Havlik. "It makes me feel inclusive."

Havlik is an accountant and feels much freer to live in her own skin hearing that the Crown Act has been signed by Governor Whitmer, meaning no one can be denied jobs or school opportunities based on their expressive and cultural hairstyles like deadlocks, cornrows or Afros.

"It’s time-consuming to have to straighten your hair and not be able to show up authentically as yourself," she said.

"It means alot to know that our state is taking a big step forward in eliminating what we all know is just thinly veiled racism," said State Sen. Sarah Anthony (D).

Anthony sponsored the bill and joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on stage for its signing into law. She says it’s been a long journey - for her personally, as well.

"You know what the CROWN Act is something we’ve been working on since 2019 and so year after year it was rejected here in the legislature and so to finally see the act pass the House, the Senate both on overwhelming bipartisan basis, it is absolutely validating," Anthony said.

The legislation is part of a broader effort to amend the State’s Elliott Larsen Civil Rights Act…which also saw added protections to cover members of the LGBTQ community.