This afternoon (March 17, 2023,) Governor Katie Hobbs took another step in her commitment to make Arizona a better place for everyone by signing an Executive Order that forbids racial discrimination in state agencies and contracts based on how a person is wearing their hair.
Please click here to read the Executive Order.
The major components of the Executive Order are:
“Ensure, in accordance with all existing federal, state, and local laws, rules, policies, or executive orders, that such policies as are adopted or reinforced pursuant to Executive Order 2023-01 for all State Agencies expressly prohibit discrimination based on hair texture and protective styles, such as braids, locs, twists, knots, and headwraps, in the workplace to safeguard against discrimination based on all race-based hairstyles. These policies should not supersede health and safety standards that are required for operational purposes.
Include provisions in all new state contracts or subcontracts, in accordance with all existing federal, state, and local laws, rules, policies, or executive orders to prohibit discrimination based on hair texture and protective styles, such as braids, locs, twists, knots, and headwraps, in the workplace and in public schools to ensure protection against discrimination based on all race-based hairstyles by the persons performing the contract or subcontract.”
Note that while the Governor cited vital statistical data in the Executive Order related to Black citizens such as “66% of Black children in majority-white schools have faced race-based hair discrimination; and… 86% of Black children have experienced race-based hair discrimination experience it by the age of 12,” Governor Hobb’s Executive Order is worded to be applicable to “all race-based hairstyles.”
In comments to leaders of the Arizona Black Community and the media, the Governor said:
“Today I am issuing an Executive Order that will affirm that black employees in Arizona and their contractors will be able to wear their natural hair without fear of discrimination. More important is the message this sends to all Black Women and children: that you deserve to feel comfortable wearing your natural hair at school and in the workplace without being perceived as unprofessional or suffering other negative consequences…Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home and one in two Black Children have experienced hair discrimination as early as five years old…”
“…For far too long Black women, men, and children have been deprived of educational and employment opportunities for wearing their natural hair. Today, I am issuing an Executive Order that demonstrates the need to prioritize the protection of culture, and allows individuals to show up as their true selves without being subjected to race-based hair discrimination.”
With the signing of this Executive Order, Arizona joins more than 40 percent of the United States population across the nation who live in states that have adopted some or total prohibitions on hair discrimination.
Up until today, Arizona had several local bans on hair discrimination. Today Executive Order by Governor Hobbs is the first action to stop this discriminatory act at the state level.