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Advocates in Annapolis, Maryland, celebrate the advancement of an anti-hair discrimination measure. Photo: Evelyn Hockstein for the Washington Post via Getty Images

States are the new battleground in the growing national movement to protect people of color from hairstyle discrimination.

Driving the news: Advocates are taking the fight local as legislation in Congress has stalled, gaining state-by-state workplace and school rights for people who wear Afros, braids, cornrows, dreadlocks and headwraps.

The big picture: Seven states have passed hair anti-discrimination laws since 2019, and at least five more will consider bills next year.

  • Nationwide demonstrations this year over systemic racism and new commitments by corporations and universities to rethink policies may work in their favor.

Details: High-profile cases of people of color being forced to change hairstyles garnered outrage this year.

  • In August, a federal judge in Texas blocked a school district from forcing a Black teenager to cut his dreadlocks according to the district's dress code.
  • In 2018, a Black high school wrestler in New Jersey was ordered to cut his dreadlocks at a match or forfeit. The referee in the case was later suspended for two years.
  • That same year, an Albuquerque teacher allegedly cut a portion of a Navajo female student's hair in class, drawing anger from the Navajo Nation. The ACLU later filed a lawsuit against the district.

Between the lines: Black women, especially, are disproportionately likely to be sent home from work because of their hair, according to a 2019 Dove survey.

  • 80% of Black women in that survey say they've changed their hair from its natural state to fit in at the office.

Flashback: A group of women attending the 2018 ESSENCE Festival met and later formed the CROWN Coalition to fight hair discrimination nationwide. Dove, owned by London-based Unilever, signed on as a founding member. The coalition grew to 70 groups.

  • CROWN stands for "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair."
  • Esi Eggleston Bracey, Unilever's North American executive vice president and COO of personal care, said Dove employees were heartbroken over news stories on hair discrimination.

Where it stands: The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill this year prohibiting discrimination based on a person's hair texture or hairstyle if that style is associated with a particular race or national origin, but the measure stalled in the Senate.

  • California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington and Colorado have passed anti-hair discrimination state laws since 2019.
  • Lawmakers in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Texas and Tennessee are pushing for similar state laws in their upcoming sessions.
  • More than a dozen states have seen anti-hair discrimination bills fail to pass, but advocates say they will keep pressing.

What they’re saying: "Hair is not protected under some civil rights laws because it's believed you can change your hair," said Adjoa B. Asamoah, legislative strategist for the CROWN Coalition. "But why should you?"

  • New York State Rep. Tremaine Wright, who sponsored New York's law, said some Black women get passed over for jobs or promotions because their hair "didn't fit" a company's image. "This is just another form of discrimination, and we have created a movement to end it."
  • "We are committed to federal legislation, and we are not going to stop until it passes," Bracey said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
36 seconds ago - Health

Overturning Roe could strain abortion access even in blue states

The Supreme Court is reflected in a woman's sunglasses during a march Oct. 2. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortions could be harder to access even in states where they remain legal, because those clinics could be flooded with patients from states that have cracked down.

The big picture: This has happened before, and clinics fear the crush of demand would be a major problem in the immediate wake of a decision that would allow states to ban abortion.

A critical race theory founder says he's being inundated with threats

Richard Delgado. Photo: Courtesy of Richard Delgado

Richard Delgado, one of the founders of the critical race theory movement, tells Axios he and his wife have been receiving a steady stream of threatening messages since the coordinated, conservative campaign against critical race theory began.

Why it matters: Educators across the country — even some elementary school teachers — have faced harassment and threats over the past year over lesson plans that teach about system racism in the U.S.

Burnout, money, concern drive Harris turnover

Vice President Kamala Harris and another potential 2024 presidential candidate, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, appeared together Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Burnout, better opportunities and concern about being permanently branded a "Harris person" is driving some of the turnover in Vice President Kamala Harris's office, people familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: Harris is not only a heartbeat from the presidency but, by virtue of her office, the presumed 2024 frontrunner if President Biden doesn't seek re-election. There's been an inordinate amount of disarray — and, now, turnover — throughout her tenure.