The Minnesota Senate passed the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination based on natural hair

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 6:22 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Hair comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and styles.

And Minnesota’s CROWN Act wants to expand the definition of race to make sure no one is discriminated against based on their natural hair.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Senate passed the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination based on natural hair.

The CROWN Act also extends the definition of race under the Minnesota Human Rights Act to include hair styles and textures.

“In Black culture, our hair is extremely important and it means a lot to us. However, over the course of time, we have been told that it’s not good enough. It’s traumatizing. So, the CROWN Act is a step in the right direction,” said Destiny Owens, founder and owner of True Essentials Consulting.

“I want everyone that’s listening to this right now to feel that they’re appreciated. I don’t want them to feel bad about themselves when someone says we don’t want your natural hair in the world. They have to accept who they are,” expressed Mya Williamson, 7-year-old author.

Mya’s books advocate for her beliefs in self-expression, self-love, and anti-discrimination. Her parents are thrilled that state legislation could match Mya’s dreams.

“She teaches other kids that your hair is your what?” asked Mya’s mom, Briana Williamson.

“Your hair is your crown!” proclaimed Mya.

“Right. So, it’s this idea that what makes you feel the most you is your ability to shape and shift through your hair and show that outward expression,” explained Briana.

“For me, wearing my curls is extremely important to encourage the youth and black men and women to be able to embrace their most authentic self,” said Owens.

Now, as an adult, she embraces her natural curls and teaches others to love their natural attributes. She says the CROWN act could protect Black culture in the workforce.

“Knowing other people who wear braids or locks, I feel like it’s extremely important and it’s super impactful because it will not allow for people to use that as a discrimination tool,” explained Owens.

Along with the CROWN Act, a bill passed in the Senate that will make Juneteenth an official state holiday. It will need to pass the House before heading to Governor Tim Walz’s desk.