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Mayor Keller Thanks Community Advocates, Signs CROWN Act Into Law

Prohibits employment discrimination based on racial and cultural attributes associated with hair types, styles, and headdresses

ALBUQUERQUE  Mayor Tim Keller joined City Councilor Lan Sena and Office of Civil Rights Director Torri Jacobus to thank community advocates for their work to protect the right to live free of discrimination based on hair types, styles, and headdresses. The Mayor signed the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, passed by the City Council at the last meeting, into law, strengthening the City’s anti-discrimination ordinances.
Racial discrimination doesnt end with the color of someones skin. Weve seen people in our community discriminated against because of their hair,” said Torri Jacobus, Director of the Office of Civil Rights and Managing Assistant City Attorney. Hair and cultural headdresses are tightly linked to the proud histories and cultures of people of color. We should celebrate peoples hairstyles, not discriminate against them. The CROWN Act Ordinance will further strengthen our citys discrimination laws and we proudly champion this bill.”
The CROWN Act protects race-related hairstyles, such as braids, afros, tight coils, bantu knots and twists. It also protects cultural headdresses including burkas, hijabs, head wraps, headscarves, and other headdresses used as someones personal cultural or religious beliefs.
Mayor Tim Keller said, “Prohibiting discrimination based on hair style—something we did by Administrative Instruction last year—has been on our team’s radar for some time, thanks to the lived experiences of our diverse leadership at City Hall and our conversations with people in the community—especially women of color—who have faced this type of discrimination. It’s an obvious step that has been overlooked in official ordinance for far too long, and that ends today.”
Cities and municipalities across the country have passed versions of the CROWN Act.
A study from the CROWN Coalition found:
  • Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.
  • Black women’s hair is 3.4 times more likely to be perceived as “unprofessional.”
  • Black women are 30 percent more likely to be made aware of formal workplace appearance policy compared to their non-Black counterparts.
The CROWN Act will help Albuquerque do its part to close the racial wage gap. One study found that Albuquerque’s economy could have been more than $10 billion stronger in 2014 if the city’s racial gaps in income had been closed.