Austin becomes first city in Texas to pass CROWN Act

Austin is now the first city in Texas to pass the CROWN Act to help eliminate hair discrimination across the country.

The Austin City Council approved implementing the Austin CROWN Act, which stands for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair".

The act means amending City Code to revise the definition of "Discriminatory Employment Practice" to include protective hairstyles. This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled, says the city.

The CROWN Act had been introduced in 2019 as part of a national movement. The US House passed it in March, and now the bill is headed to the Senate for a vote.

The city says that the Austin CROWN Act resolution/ordinance "will ensure that discrimination can be addressed before protections are introduced nationally."

Council had directed the city manager to work with stakeholders, including civil rights organizations, organizations representing the interests of workers and protected classes, and businesses, on further recommendations for this civil rights ordinance and for the Civil Rights Office and hosting community forums.