ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s been an ongoing effort and discussion nationwide to end discrimination based on someone’s hair or headwear. Now, an Albuquerque city councilor is hoping to do the same here.
For many African American women like Torri Jacobus and Alexandria Taylor, getting to the point of being confident with their natural hair has been a lifelong battle. “We all have a lifelong of stories to tell about our hair from being very young and needing to straighten our hair,” says Taylor.
City Councilor Lan Sena heard their concerns and is sponsoring a bill to amend the Albuquerque Civil Rights Ordinance, making it illegal for anyone to discriminate against someone based on the way they wear their hair. “Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from a workplace because of their hair,” says Sena.
Councilor Sena says this nationwide discussion has been brought to her attention by local African American women here in Albuquerque. “Their hair, their hairstyles, that is a key component to their blackness, or their race and their culture,” says Jacobus.
The bill also prohibits discriminating people who wear headdresses for cultural or religious reasons. Jacobus, who is also the Director for the city’s Office of Civil Rights, and Taylor, have been trying to get the Crown Act passed here in the state.
If the Crown Act passes at city council, the city says it will focus on educating the public about the law before focusing on fines. Fines for violating that law could reach up to $500, per violation.
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