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Some South Dakota farmers are unhappy with industrial ag getting conservation funds; Texas judge allows abortion in Cox case; Native tribes express concern over Nevada's clean energy projects.

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The Colorado Supreme Court weighs barring Trump from office, Georgia Republicans may be defying a federal judge with a Congressional map splitting a Black majority district and fake electors in Wisconsin finally agree Biden won there in 2020.

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Texas welcomes more visitors near Big Bend but locals worry the water won't last, those dependent on Colorado's Dolores River fear the same but have found common ground solutions, and a new film highlights historical healthcare challenges in rural Appalachia.

CROWN Act Aims to End Discriminatory Policing of Hairstyles

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Thursday, July 7, 2022   

Some Ohio lawmakers are following in the footsteps of federal legislators with a bill to ban the policing of hairstyles based on racial stereotypes.

Eboney Thornton, communications coordinator at the Center for Community Solutions, said some businesses or schools have policies discouraging ethnic hair types, and even prohibit styles like braids, Bantu knots, cornrows and locs and dreadlocks.

"People of color, particularly Black women and Hispanic, end up having to do something to their hair that's unnatural for them," Thornton explained. "Or they may wear wigs, they may chemically process their hair to be in compliance of that particular dress code."

The U.S. House passed the CROWN Act in March to prohibit the denial of employment or educational opportunities because of a person's hair texture or protective hairstyle. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who voted against the measure, called it a distraction from more important issues. Shortly after, House Bill 668 was introduced at the state level.

Currently, Civil Rights Act Title VII only offers protections for the hairstyle known as an Afro.

Thornton pointed out often, policies intended to discriminate against certain cultures also penalize others.

"A lot of the dress codes, a lot of rules say you can't color your hair a certain way. You can't wear certain braids; you can't have your hair a certain length," Thornton outlined. "It doesn't just affect Black and brown. It affects white girls; it affects white boys who may be growing their hair out to donate."

A dozen states have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on hair texture. Thornton argued as the world grows and changes, hair-based discrimination could drive qualified and talented workers away from Ohio, hindering economic progress.

"And that's kind of what Ohio is built on," Thornton contended. "We are creative, we are innovative, and we want to keep building that. So, if we stop penalizing people for how they look or how they're wearing their hair, just imagine how great that we can be."

Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland Heights and Columbus have passed similar CROWN Act laws.

Reporting by Ohio News Connection in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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