Shreveport City Council passes ordinance to end discrimination against natural hair

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — An ordinance making it illegal to discriminate against Black people who have natural hairstyles in workplaces has been passed by the Shreveport City Council.

The CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” was first introduced by Councilwoman Levette Fuller on May, 25.

The CROWN Act ordinance amends existing Shreveport laws governing discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and real estate and housing in Shreveport to add the definition of a protected cultural hairstyle as follows:

Protected cultural hairstyle means any hairstyle or hair texture commonly associated with a particular race or national origin, including locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, Afros, and any hairstyle in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled. For purposes of any act of discrimination prohibited by this Chapter, discrimination based upon protected cultural hairstyle shall create a rebuttable presumption of discrimination based upon race or national origin.

The ordinance, which will now include this definition, provides for a fine of up to $500.00 for the first such violation and up to $1,000.00 for each such subsequent violation.

The city council voted 6-1 in favor of the ordinance on Tuesday. It will go into effect on July 8.

The Shreveport ordinance mirrors similar ones in cities like New Orleans and soon to be Baton Rouge, according to Fuller. It is also similar to Senate Bill 61, which has already passed in the Louisiana Senate and is awaiting debate in the House.

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