Today is National CROWN Day, a day set aside to celebrate Black hair and advocate for laws that end race-based hair discrimination.
The movement to end hair discrimination is of particular importance to YWCA Dayton, as an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women and also as the operator of two domestic violence shelters.
Black women living in shelter often face added challenges to self-care and hair styling. Shelters often are stocked with donated and budget products that don’t meet Black women’s needs and don’t allow for natural hair care.
For CROWN Day, YW recognizes that in order for Black women served by us to have the dignity and freedom to wear their natural hair, they need both legal protection from hair discrimination and the right products available to ALL clients seeking safety at a domestic violence shelter.
“All women should be able to show up as their whole selves. That includes women living in shelter and navigating trauma, who deserve the dignity,” said Barbara Ward, YWCA Dayton’s Associate Directory of Advocacy and Outreach.
YWCA Dayton works with community partners on natural hair care drives to end this disparity and ensure Black clients living in our domestic violence shelters have what they need.
This includes a network of Dayton churches and the Dayton Chapter of Jack and Jill of America Inc., who held generous natural hair care product drives, gathering enough donations to stock YW’s cupboards for months.
“Jack and Jill is an organization of mothers who are raising our children to be a part of the community and who are advocating for the dignity of all children,” Ward said.
The CROWN Act, also known as Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, is a law that prohibits race-based hair discrimination.
The CROWN Act is law in 22 states as well as several individual cities. Ohio has not passed the CROWN Act, though Cincinnati, Columbus and Akron have passed protections at a municipal level. Federal protection still needs to be passed.
YW invites the community to join us on a mission to end hair discrimination. Community members can sign a petition in support of the The CROWN Act to end hair discrimination in the workplace and schools.