By Caribbean News Global
WASHINGTON, USA – National Crown Day is July 3rd. As many prepare to celebrate the crowns of women of color nationwide and globally, there is still much work to be done to ensure female workers of color have equal access to the workforce.
As of April 20, 2022, the Crown Act was officially a law of the US Virgin Islands called the USVI Crown Act. Hair discrimination exists in places where primarily people of color live, including the US Virgin Islands.
National Crown Day is not only about hair discrimination it is also about self-care and mental wellness. This is part of the journey that nobody really discusses because it can be emotionally traumatizing.
With the recent passing of the act in more states, lawmakers in power are starting to realize the Crown Act is really a self-care movement that allows many Black women to have some room to “just breath” and be themselves freely.
US Senator Alma Francis-Heyliger, wife, mother, and a Black woman in Congress, has done her part, ensuring that the crown act will be a law in the US Virgin Islands for future generations of women.
Many mainlanders are just finding out that the Crown Act is an actual law in the territories. Senator Alma Francis Heyliger looks forward to discussing:
- Why now is the time for a global Crown Act movement?
- How will this affect the workforce now?
- Can mainland/ Caribbean Americans feel safe at work at school?
- When and how does this act go into effect?
- How will the Crown Act be enforced? And more!
Historic Civil Rights legislation, crafted by Senator Alma Francis Heyliger and passed unanimously by the 34th Legislature on March 24, was signed into law by Governor Alberty Bryan, Jr., now protects racially identified hairstyles under the Virgin Islands Code.
With its full ratification, The Virgin Islands CROWN Act of 2021, now designated as Act No. 8553 does the following:
- Redefines racial discrimination in employment, housing accommodations, and education to include hair texture and protected hairstyles “including braids, locks, twists, cornrows, Bantu knots, Afros, and other styles in which the hair is tightly coiled, or tightly curled.”
- Prohibits the exclusion of students from participating in any program or receiving any benefit on the basis of race, hair texture or protective hairstyle.
- Prohibits the creation of dress codes and policies that prohibit the wearing of protected hairstyles at school and disciplinary action against students for wearing protective hairstyles.
In recognition of the CROWN Act’s ultimate adoption into law, Senator Francis Heyliger thanked her colleagues in the 34th Legislature for their support of the measure, and Governor Albert Bryan Jr. for signing the significant victory for racial equality into the Virgin Islands Code. Sen. Francis Heyliger expressed her gratitude to Adjoa Asamoah, a co- founder of the CROWN Act Coalition, and a partner of the Dove Coalition, with whom she worked closely to craft the CROWN Act in the US Virgin Islands.
“For far too long we have witnessed how racial discrimination insidiously creeps into our institutions and denies advancement opportunities on the basis of racial prejudice,” said Sen. Francis Heyliger. “Excluding an individual from gainful employment or education on the basis of hair texture simply provides an alternative route for racial discrimination. The enactment of the Virgin Islands CROWN Act closes that loophole in racial inequality here in the Territory.”
With passage of the CROWN Act, the US Virgin Islands joins a nationwide initiative to legally protect against racial discrimination due to hair texture or style. The House of Representatives recently passed similar legislation on a federal level, with many State and local jurisdictions enacting their own version of the law.
“I’m proud to see this measure enacted in the interests of protecting the Territory’s citizens against blatant forms of racial discrimination and obstructionist institutional policies,” said Sen. Francis Heyliger. “I hope that the victory achieved here in the Virgin Islands contributes to the overall momentum of the CROWN Act initiative on various local, state and federal levels.”
Sen. Francis Heyliger submitted draft legislation of the Virgin Islands CROWN Act on her first day in office, as part of an overall effort to enrich the people of the Virgin Islands through public education, public access to information and public safety.