Last week, the Pittsburgh City Council and the Allegheny County Council unanimously voted to ban discrimination on the basis of race-based hairstyles by passing the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act (known as the CROWN Act).
The CROWN Acts amend provisions of the City and County Codes addressing employment, housing, real estate, and public accommodation discrimination. Provisions of the County law would also impact public schools, but not private institutions.
Mayor Bill Peduto and County Executive Rich Fitzgerald are expected to sign the bills.
Assuming that the legislation is signed, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County will join a growing number of state and local governments that provide protections from hairstyle discrimination, which predominantly affects the Black community who are targeted for natural hair textures and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots. State-wide protections exist in California, Washington State, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Colorado and at the local level across the country.