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'It's needed and it's necessary' | Central Texans share excitement over CROWN Act passing in Texas

The CROWN Act prohibits race-based hair discrimination, because of hair texture or protective styles.

KILLEEN, Texas — After years of efforts, the CROWN Act, or HB 567, is officially law in Texas as of Sept. 1.

According to the CROWN Act website the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which is the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots.

Aisha Davis is apart of the Texas State Board of Education and was one of the front runners in getting this bill to the house. She said the law passed with the help of dozens of people in the state banning together to make a change.

"It was years of advocacy, talking to different groups, talking to different legislators, making sure schools understood the possibility of not having her discrimination," Davis explained. 

Nationwide, there have been several instances of schools banning black hairstyles like braids or locks or even employees losing their jobs for refusing to cut their hair. 

Like the situation in Troy when a TISD teenager was put in in-school suspension for more than a week after wearing braids in his hair. 

The teenagers mother, Hope Cozart, explained how great this bill will be for young children like her son.

"We are absolutely ecstatic that The CROWN Act was passed, " Cozart shared. "Some amazing people worked very very hard to get this bill seen, heard, and then put into action as law. Although it's great to see things moving forward we still have work to do getting The Crown Act passed on a federal law level."

Over in Killeen at Raquel's Beauty Salon, the women in the salon took time to have a conversation about hair discrimination. 

Once parent. Melissa Harris, says her daughters hair is not a distraction when she inside of a classroom.

"I don't want her to feel like less of a person because she's wearing a different color or her hair is a different texture," Harris said. 

Prairie View A&M University professor Coiette Morton explained what she looks forward to seeing what sort of change will happen in school and in the workplace. 

"I hope that people will learn from this bill that diversity and appreciation of other Americans' cultural styles are a benefit to all," Morton explained. "I also hope that people understand that acceptance of others does not denigrate them nor take anything away from them, the more protections that we all have from discrimination, oppression, etc. makes our communities and nation a safer and more pleasant place to be."

Texas joins over 20 other states to implement the CROWN Act in their state law.

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