Connecticut woman helps pass 'Crown Act' to end race-based hair discrimination

CONNECTICUT (WABC) -- As we celebrate Women's History Month, we're taking a closer look at a new piece of legislation that protects both women and men, from race-based hair discrimination.

Just last week, Governor Lamont signed the Crown Act, making Connecticut the 8th state to pass the law, joining New York and New Jersey.

"The right to rock our crowns, the way we see fit, especially in alliance with, you know, who we are culturally and as a people, that right, must be protected and preserved," said Adjoa B. Asamoah, social impact and political strategist.

Asamoah is the force behind some of the most recent policy and culture shifts in the nation.

She's working to advance racial equity at the local, state, and federal levels of government.

Born in southern Connecticut, Asamoah says she knew early in her childhood that she wanted to work to lift the most disenfranchised.

"I am the proud daughter of an immigrant, a father who was born under colonization and what would what would become the Republic of Ghana, and a mother who was born in the Jim Crow South," Asamoah said. "It was their lived experiences with systemic oppression that would ultimately inform my work."

That work includes tackling disparities when it comes to school discipline and suspension rates among black students.

She organized the nation's first office on African American Affairs and served as the National Advisor for Black Engagement for the Biden-Harris campaign.

One of her most recent and proudest achievements is helping to pass the historic, "Crown Act" in eight states, Connecticut being the most recent.

The law prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and hair texture.

"This prevalent form of discrimination includes being fired, passed over for promotions, and even having offers of employment rescinded," Asamoah said.

And she isn't done yet.

Asamoah just co-drafted a bill that would ensure that Black studies courses be required for high school graduation.

It's a move to not only acknowledge historical wrongs, but to right them. She's one woman paving the way for those who follow.

"If I'm at the table by myself, something is wrong. So if I get there first, it is my obligation to the next generation to make sure that I am creating a seat for somebody else," Asamoah said.

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