July 12, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs S6209A/A7797A To Make Clear Civil Rights Laws Ban Discrimination Against Hair Styles Or Textures Associated With Race

TOP Governor Cuomo Signs S6209A/A7797A To Make...

Governor Cuomo: "For much of our nation's history, people of color - particularly women - have been marginalized and discriminated against simply because of their hair style or texture. By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of color are protected from all forms of discrimination."

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Governor Cuomo today signed into law S.6209A/A.7797A, which amends the Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act to make clear that discrimination based on race includes hairstyles or traits associated with race. 

"For much of our nation's history, people of color - particularly women - have been marginalized and discriminated against simply because of their hair style or texture," Governor Cuomo said. "By signing this bill into law, we are taking an important step toward correcting that history and ensuring people of color are protected from all forms of discrimination." 

Specifically the bill amends section 292 of the Human Rights Law and section 11 of the Dignity for All Students Act to add new subsections to the definitions of race, to include "traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles." The bill's provisions are effective immediately.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said,"Discriminating against someone because of their hair style or texture is wrong, and now it is also against the law. We should celebrate the diversity that makes New York State great and that includes respecting the hair style choices of all New Yorkers. I commend Senator Jamaal Bailey for sponsoring this legislation which the Senate Majority was proud to pass, and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law."

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said, "No one should face discrimination at school or in the workplace, but too often we see people of color, particularly women, who are told their hair is unprofessional or not appropriate in public settings. These discriminatory policies sideline people of color - keeping children out of their classrooms and diminishing who they are. That discrimination has no place in New York State. The Assembly Majority will continue to fight so every New Yorker is treated with dignity and respect."

Senator Jamaal T. Bailey said, "The way one chooses to wear their hair should be legally protected and supported - and in New York, now it will be. I thank Governor Cuomo for supporting and signing this bill that makes New York State a leader when it comes to ending racial discrimination based upon natural hair and hairstyles. I would also like to thank Assembly Member Tremaine Wright, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and her Chief of Staff and Counsel Shontell Smith for their leadership. When leadership is diverse, it understands and is reflective of the communities. Thank you for protecting our crowns"

Assembly Member Tremaine S. Wright said, "As a Black woman who prioritizes equity, and has worn my natural for 17 years, this bill is deeply personal for me. While chatting with racial and gender equity champion Adjoa B. Asamoah about the longstanding and problematic practice of hair discrimination, I recalled the action Congresswoman Marcia Fudge took during her tenure as Congressional Black Caucus Chair to confront new rules the army proposed to ban hairstyles that would disproportionately impact Black women. I determined a legislative fix was in order, and decided I'd carry the CROWN Act in NY. I am beyond proud to have done so, and for New York to be the first state to have had this historic bill passed in both chambers. Special thanks to Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart Cousins for their leadership."

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