Nevada became the 12th state to pass the CROWN Act in 2021, which bans discrimination in employment and educational opportunities based on hair texture or protective hairstyles. These include braids, locs, twists and bantu knots. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition in partnership with former California State Sen. Holly J. Mitchell.
To understand the CROWN Act’s impact, Claytee White, director of the UNLV Oral History Research Center, will host a discussion panel at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 18 in UNLV Lied Library’s Goldfield Room as part of the series "We Need To Talk: Conversations on Racism for a More Resilient Las Vegas.”
Panelists for the discussion include:
- Dina Neal, Nevada State Senator
- Erica Vital-Lazare, Professor of Creative Writing and Marginalized Voices in Dystopian Literature at the College of Southern Nevada
- Ingrid Ruffin, Associate Dean and Division Director for Research and Education at UNLV University Libraries.
Panelists will share stories about their own hairstyles and how we can continue dismantling discrimination against individuals with natural hair. The series is sponsored by the UNLV University Libraries and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs. The discussion is free and open to the public and will also be livestreamed by UNLV-TV.
Additionally, UNLV Libraries has partnered with Demecina Beehn, a part-time instructor in the UNLV Department of Art and curator of special projects & programs for MGM Resorts Art & Culture, to develop an exhibit, “Wearing My Crown.” The exhibit, which will be discussed during the panel discussion, features photography and multimedia by UNLV students of various textured hairstyles protected by the CROWN Act. The exhibit will be on display on the first floor in Lied Library throughout the Spring 2023 semester.
Archived episodes of We Need To Talk are available to stream on the UNLV Libraries website. Dive deeper into the topics discussed in each episode with readings and on the We Need To Talk companion guide from the UNLV Libraries.
About We Need to Talk
In 2020, following the calls for racial justice that erupted across the country and around the world following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, UNLV University Libraries and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs launched the series, “We Need to Talk: Conversations on Racism for a More Resilient Las Vegas.” The purpose of the series is to bring frank context to the demonstrations and begin exploring pathways for equity for all Las Vegas and Southern Nevada citizens.
The series features Southern Nevada community members, UNLV alumni, and researchers surrounding issues of race and systemic racism. Previous discussions have focused on specific topics like health care disparities, criminal justice reform, how communities of color are represented by news organizations in digital media, inequality in education, and economic challenges.
The series is sponsored by UNLV University Libraries and the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs and is funded in part by Libraries Advisory Board Member Sara Mason.