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Arizona governor signs order banning hair discrimination

March 17, 2023 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — Gov. Katie Hobbs has signed an executive order banning racial discrimination based on a person’s hair in Arizona.

Before officially signing the order Friday afternoon at the Executive Tower, Hobbs said the order will mean state employees and contractors won’t have to worry about losing work for simply wearing their natural hair.

The main purpose is ensure Black Arizona residents feel respected.

“More importantly is the message this sends to all Black women, men and children — that you deserve to feel comfortable wearing your natural hair at school and in the workplace without being perceived as unprofessional or suffering other negative consequences,” Hobbs said.

The governor was surrounded by nearly two dozen members of the Black community. Several were representatives from advocacy groups like the African American Museum of Southern Arizona, Black Mother’s Forum and the Phoenix chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women.

Advocates have cited instances around the country where Black people were forced to cut their dreadlocks or re-do their hairstyles to participate in work, sports or other activities.