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Sen. Sarah Anthony plans to reintroduce bill to protect against hair-based discrimination

State Senator Sarah Anthony headshot
Michigan Senate Democrats
Sen. Sarah Anthony represents communities including all of Eaton County along with Mason and parts of Lansing.

Democratic state Senator Sarah Anthony plans to reintroduce legislation that would protect Black Michiganders from hair-based discrimination.

Four years ago, as a state representative, Anthony introduced the CROWN Act into the Michigan Legislature.

CROWN stands for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair" and is part of a national movement. 20 other states have similar laws on the books.

It is one of the most pressing issues that I hear about, particularly for our Black women.
State Senator Sarah Anthony

The measure in Michigan would amend the state’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect against the denial of employment or educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles like braids, locs and twists.

"It is one of the most pressing issues that I hear about, particularly for our Black women," Anthony said.

"Folks who have experienced real discrimination, not received promotions on their jobs, who have not been able to take school pictures in elementary schools, have not been given health care services based on how they wear their hair."

The bill is yet to make it out of committee during the two times it has been introduced. Republicans controlled the state legislature at the time.

"It hasn't seen the light of day, whether it is a lack of urgency or rooted in systemic racism, these issues have not been prioritized."

Anthony says passing the CROWN Act would have economic benefits for Michigan.

"What better way to show that, particularly, Black Michiganders and folks who we want to attract across the country and the world won’t be denied opportunities because of their hair."

Anthony says she plans to reintroduce the bill sometime during February for Black History Month.

Sophia Saliby is the local producer and host of All Things Considered, airing 4pm-7pm weekdays on 90.5 FM WKAR.
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