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Lexington celebrates hair discrimination ban, proclaims July 3 as “National CROWN Day”

Councilmember Shayla Lynch (center) discusses the CROWN Act at a press conference while Mayor Linda Gorton (left), Councilmember Tayna Fogle (center-right) and Councilmember Denise Gray look on.
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Councilmember Shayla Lynch (center) discusses the CROWN Act at a press conference while Mayor Linda Gorton (left), Councilmember Tayna Fogle (center-right) and Councilmember Denise Gray look on.

Advocates and members of the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government joined cities and states across the country in recognizing National CROWN Day on Wednesday.

CROWN Act protections ban race-based hair discrimination in the workplace. Wednesday commemorated the signing of the original CROWN Act legislation in California. Lexington passed its own version last year.

Councilmember Shayla Lynch was among those who pushed for the act’s passage.

“Passing this ordinance was important to me because I faced hair discrimination at a pivotal point in my life and career, and I was told that I was unemployable because I wore an afro,” Lynch said. “I don’t want anyone to experience what I experienced that day.”

A study from Dove says hair discrimination particularly affects Black women. More than 20 percent of Black women aged 25 to 34 have been sent home from work because of their hair.

Councilmember Denise Gray credited the act’s passage in Lexington to a more diverse representation in local government.

“Many residents of Lexington have silently dealt with race based discrimination, and sadly, the next generation of leaders in Lexington have dealt with it as well,” Gray said. “However, it was not until we had a diverse city council that this law was passed.”

Lexington is among three other Kentucky cities recognizing National CROWN Day, including Louisville, Frankfort and Covington. Governor Beshear signed an executive order implementing the act statewide earlier this year.

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Shepherd joined WEKU in June 2023 as a staff reporter. He most recently worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting as General Assignment Reporter. In that role, he collected interviews and captured photos in the northern region of West Virginia. Shepherd holds a master’s degree in Digital Marketing Communication and a bachelor’s in music from West Virginia University.
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