California became the first state to enact legislation prohibiting discrimination based on natural hairstyles. Now New York has followed, with the signature of Assembly Bill 07797 of Governor Andrew Cuomo, which "prohibits racial discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles" in law. This is a big step forward, considering the statistics: Black women are 50% more likely to be sent home or know a black woman fired from her job because of her hair.
This new law solidifies the new guidelines introduced by the New York Commission on Human Rights, which called for protection of citizens' right to use "natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as braids, Bantu, Afros and / or the right to keep hair in a blunt or non-trim state. "
The bill is an amendment to the New York State Human Rights Law and Dignity Law for All Students, which states that racial discrimination only extends to characteristics historically associated with ethnicity. Temaine Wright, a member of the New York Assembly and a black woman who is proud of her hair and heritage, said in a statement that she was "determined to work until a legislative solution was in order" and wanted to see the act performed in her state. "I am very proud to have done this and that New York is the first state to have this historic law passed in both chambers," she said.