Kerion Washington says he won’t let a painful experience from three years ago keep him down. He’s grown since then, and so has his hair.
“It’s part of me,” said Washington of his hair. “It’s who I am. I wanted to try something new and I wanted to grow out my hair.”
We first met Washington in March of 2019 when he said he was turned away from a summer job at Six Flags over Texas because of his locks.
“My thing with that situation is it was a seasonal job and I don’t see him cutting off years of growth for something that was seasonal,” said his mother, Karis Washington.
Six Flags later released a statement about its policy which read in part:
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“We maintain a company-wide grooming code that includes standard uniforms for front-line team members and no extreme hairstyles such as drastic variations in hair color, locks or partially shaven heads.”
Washington and his mother believe, had an anti-hair discrimination bill been signed into state law at the time, perhaps things would’ve turned out differently. House Bill 392, better known as the CROWN Act, stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” It would prohibit discrimination based on hair texture or style, and it’s currently making its way through the state legislature. Washington’s mother has children younger than Kerion, and hopes the bill passes for their sake.
“The CROWN Act would be a good thing because it would keep people from getting discriminated against when it comes to getting a job,” she said. “I have two other boys who have hair like his. And they’re younger and it’s going to be a time when they’re looking for a job and I need something to where they won’t have that issue like their brother did.”
Washington and his mother are not alone as people have traveled to Austin from all over the state to testify in favor of the bill hoping to effect change.
Washington’s story went viral and he caught the eye of a talent scout. He’s now modeling.
Read HB 392 here.