Wrapping up Women’s History Month!
As you know Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights and celebrates women’s contribution throughout history and in present-day life. This Women’s History Month has been nothing short of monumental! Whether you took some time to reflect on significant women that have made an impact in your life personally, showed up for and supported women, and/or celebrated in other ways, I encourage you to continue to do so beyond March.
Personally, I have been inspired by Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic confirmation hearing, which began on March 21. If sworn in, she will become the first Black woman Justice in the U.S. Supreme Court! From her impressive records and her poise during the confirmation hearings, to her relatableness as a mother who has been candid about juggling her career and motherhood, Judge Jackson breaks the mold in so many ways.
As we see images of Judge Jackson, a seemingly superficial observation is her hairstyle. Hair may seem like a trivial topic -- in fact, I’m reluctant to discuss Judge Jackson’s hairstyle, as I don’t want it to detract from her glorious qualifications. But the reality is that people (women and men) have historically been expected to follow socially suitable norms about grooming to be accepted.
Judge Jackson’s hairstyle particularly stands out because she wears it in a form of protective styling known as Sisterlocks, a look created and trademarked by Dr. JoAnne Cornwell. Judge Jackson’s locs are about more than just hair; they are a part of her identity and a strong reminder that she brings her full authentic self everywhere.
Tying it together
Did you know that, until recently, a person could face discrimination at work or school based on hairstyle and/or texture?
Holly J. Mitchell (born 1964) is an American politician, currently serving as a member of the Los Angeles County Chair. As a State Senator, she drafted and sponsored the the CROWN Act, which prohibits discrimination based on hair style and hair texture by extending protection under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Eduation Code. The CROWN Act was unanimously passed by the California legislature on June 27, 2019 and signed into law on July 3, 2019. Since then, similar statutes have already been passed by 13 states and 30 cities to date (as of March 2022).
Hair could be a sensitive topic for some, and may not be for others. Most often, hairdos are about more than styling choices; they often represent identity, perspective, and life experience. I am thankful for the progress that has been made to be more accepting of different hair styles and textures. And I am hopeful for continued progress.