The Senate gave final passage to a bill Monday that would prohibit discrimination against women of color for wearing their hair in natural styles. The Senate voted 30-0 with five members absent.
The legislation is “good law,” Sen. Jorge Cabrera, D-Hamden, said. But “this is bigger than just passing legislation.”
He said it sends a message to the children in Connecticut that “they matter.”
Seven other states have passed the CROWN Act. Connecticut is poised to become the eighth with Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature.
“Other people get to wake up, get into the shower wash their hair and be considered professional while my daughter is going to have to struggle with that and be told it’s not good enough,” Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, said.
He said some may be dismissive of the importance of the legislation or the historical need to pass legislation like this.
“It’s not just about the hair but the blackness of the people who wear the hair,” he added.
He said the legislation is important “because my daughter needs to be who she naturally is.”
A DOVE study that found 80% of women reported they changed their hair from its natural state to fit into the corporate environment.
Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Trumbull, said she’s sad that they had to be here passing this law. She said even when she came up to the legislature she was asked what she was going to do with her hair.
Moore said at first she thought the woman was pointing out the gray hair, but she was referring to straightening it.
Moore said she was taken aback because the woman who asked her this was Black.
“She thought I should straighten my hair to conform to being up here in the legislature,” she said.
Moore said she never even considered it.
Moore said “for Black women it really is about culture and identity.”