UPDATE: CROWN Ordinance passed in Beckley

Raleigh County

Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 10 p.m. UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Sounds of cheering could be heard on the lawn in front of Beckley City Hall as history was made during the council meeting Tuesday May 11, 2021.

City council members voted to pass the Beckley CROWN Ordinance. Many residents came out to sit on the lawn and voice why it was so important to pass something like this.

“The ordinance doesn’t affect me personally, I have white hair, I would never be discriminated against because of my hair. But I just came out because it affects our city, it affects our citizens,” Melissa Keaton, a resident said.

With the ordinance in place, it ensures people with protective hair styles like, braids, locs, or twists would not be discriminated against at work or school. Dr. Kristi Dumas said the passing of this ordinance makes her hopeful for the future.

“I am elated, I am so excited.. I am beyond happy that our city council made the right decision,” Dr. Dumas said.

During the meeting, people had the opportunity to join in and have their voices heard. Thaddaus Breckenridge is from Beckley. He said he is glad this passed after years of feeling discriminated against for his hair.

“It’s been a uniform of what they want me to look like in certain places. I’ve been told to put my hair in ponytails or to cut my hair, I’ve been told even in the sports world the aerodynamics whatever physically way they can tell me it was disenfranchising me was going to be a way to do it off myself. And I stood through that,” Breckenridge said.

Breckenridge said this ordinance will help pave the way for the future of kids in West Virginia.

Original Story: May 11, 2021 1:34 p.m:

On Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at the Beckley City Council meeting, leaders will vote on whether to pass the CROWN ACT in Beckley. If passed, employers will not be able not deny someone a job because of their braids, locks, twists and knots.

In March 2021, people from the City of Beckley went to Charleston during the annual legislative session to show support for the CROWN ACT. The bill was not approved in the state legislature, and now some Beckley residents are waiting for a local ordinance to be passed in the city.

The CROWN ACT is legislation aimed to stop race-based hair discrimination of Afro-American hair in the workplace and in schools.

Tuesday’s meeting will be closed to the public, but it will be streamed online. Community members told 59News they plan to gather outside Beckley City Hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The meeting is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. and will be available through webex.

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