Albuquerque City Council approves hair discrimination ban

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — City officials in New Mexico have voted in favor of an ordinance prohibiting race-based discrimination against hair texture and hairstyles in schools and the workplace.

The Albuquerque City Council voted on Monday to amend its Human Rights Ordinance to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act. The city joins a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair, or Black women’s hair is perceived 3.4 times more likely as unprofessional,” Councilmember Lan Sena said.

Sena introduced the act after several states passed similar laws, including California, Colorado, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, she said. The act prohibits workplace discrimination based on hairstyles as well as headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons.

“I think it’s really important that people are accepted for who they are, and I think that this really encourages that,” said Councilwoman Cynthia Borrego, who was elected to serve as the next council president, replacing councilor Pat Davis.

Similar measures are being considered at the state and national levels.