In a powerful display of empowerment and connection to cultural roots, a group of high school students in Delray Beach, Florida, organized an event to educate children with textured hair about embracing their natural hairstyles. Led by Sofia Scher, a senior at Spanish River High School, the initiative was made possible through a partnership with B’nai Torah Congregation in Boca Raton. On a Sunday morning, approximately 20 children in the foster system, along with six hairdressers, gathered at Downtown Roots Salon in Delray Beach to participate in this enlightening experience.
The motivation behind this event stems from the belief that it is crucial for children to receive guidance and knowledge about proper hair hygiene and maintenance. Scher, reflecting on her own journey with textured hair, emphasized the importance of finding a community of textured hair stylists who can provide valuable insights and support. She expressed, “I’ve always had to figure out my own hair, and how to take care of it. For a real long time, I did not know what I was doing. And then I found a community of textured hair stylists. It’s so helpful to know about your day.”
This inspiring endeavor takes place in the context of the Palm Beach County School Board’s decision in 2020 to amend the school district’s non-discrimination policy, specifically to include protection against discrimination based on hairstyles. Previously, the policy prohibited discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex or sexual orientation, marital status, age, religion, disability, genetic information, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic prohibited by law.
In order to safeguard individuals with textured hair from discriminatory practices rooted in racial biases, the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) has been introduced. This act offers protection to people with textured hair, recognizing that historically associated traits, such as hair texture, type, and styles like braids, locs, and twists, should not be used as grounds for discrimination. Although state legislators have attempted to enact the CROWN Act as a statewide initiative, their efforts were unsuccessful during the 2023 legislative session. According to online records, the proposed bill “died” on May 5 in the judiciary committee.
This event serves as a significant reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance in society. By empowering children with textured hair to embrace their natural hairstyles and providing them with knowledge about hair care, these high school students are paving the way for a more inclusive and understanding future.