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D. Wendy Greene

W&L Law Visiting Professor Helps End Hair Discrimination in NYC, California

Earlier this year, New York City announced new guidelines to ban discrimination due to a person’s natural hair style, and just this month, the California Senate unanimously passed the CROWN Act, the first statewide protection in the U.S. prohibiting natural hair discrimination in schools and workplaces.

Both of these developments might not have been possible without the work of Wendy Greene, a visiting professor at W&L Law. Green has dedicated her professional life to advocating for better protections against racial inequality and discrimination, and her recent scholarship and advocacy has focused on discriminatory grooming codes.

The NYC Commission on Human Rights, which developed the new guidelines for the city, cited Greene’s work in its deliberations. In addition, Greene testified before the California State Judiciary Committee in support of the CROWN Act (Creating Respectful and Open Workplaces for Natural Hair Act). The bill passed the State Senate following a 37-0 vote and must now pass the California Assembly and be signed by Governor Gavin Newsome to become law.

The daughter of American civil rights activists, Greene is a leading U.S. anti-discrimination law scholar, teacher and advocate. She has published numerous articles on discrimination and grooming codes, and she has a forthcoming book on the topic, “#FreeTheHair: Locking Black Hair to Civil Rights Movements.”

Greene served as a visiting professor at W&L Law this spring and will continue with the Law School this fall as the Frances Lewis Law Center Scholar-in-Residence. Her testimony before the California State Judiciary Committee is available online and begins around the 28 minute mark.

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