COLUMBUS (WCMH) – For many people of color, how they style their hair has been considered an issue, closing doors for job opportunities and leadership roles.
This will hopefully be the start of a different story Friday with CROWN day.
CROWN stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” According to Priscilla Tyson, she said the City of Columbus needed the CROWN Act passed.
“We have enough statistics that are in the United States that state that women, black women especially compared to white women, feel they haven’t gotten promotions because of how they wear their hair,” Tyson said.
Eryn Hathaway, executive director of Eryn Pink Girl Empowerment, said she’s happy men, women, boys, and girls are getting a day to embrace their hair. When she was young, she remembers natural hair not being the standard of what was “beautiful.”
“I personally desired straight hair because everyone around me had long, straight hair,” Hathaway said.
She added that it also didn’t help that while growing up she didn’t see a lot of people that looked like her.
“It wasn’t until later in high school, where my hair began to grow out, I recognized I had curly hair underneath the relaxed hair,” Hathaway said. “I thought it was more attractive than the straight hair. Even going natural, I thought there was a standard of when I can go natural.”
She now runs an organization called Eryn Pink Girl Empowerment, which helps open up conversations addressing a range of topics like conversations about school, work, and culture.
“Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to sit among other girls of color,” Hathaway said. “It’s an authentic thing for girls to look up to other girls directly older than them. I have an older sister, it was always this thing of wanting to be among teenagers, women, young-adult women you wanted to be like.”
Rylei Caldwell, 15, said Eryn Pink Girl Empowerment has helped her become both confident and a leader among other girls involved in the organization.
“I’ve had experiences with people discriminating against my hair before,” Caldwell said. “It makes me really happy that I can know that I am comfortable going to places like school, work, and places like here without being judged.”
Zoé White, 18, said as a whole, it means people are hearing what they have to say.
“For CROWN Day to be a thing, it’s great that it’s being noticed,” she said.
Hathaway said she’s happy to be having a new conversation within her organization for CROWN Day.