Professor Wendy Greene, the legal architect of the CROWN Act, won The Association of American Law Schools’ Deborah L. Rhode Award for her trailblazing work to end race-based natural hair discrimination. Greene was honored during the AALS Awards Ceremony on January 5, 2022.
“This award is truly a reflection of countless individuals who have supported and amplified my scholarly activism to combat race-based natural hair discrimination, among other forms of racial discrimination, for nearly 15 years,” said Greene. “I am grateful for Dean Dan Filler and Associate Dean Alex Geisinger’s support of my nomination and the Kline School of Law community for their encouragement of my professional life’s work to advance human dignity, freedom, equity, and full respect of one’s personhood in workplaces and beyond.”
Created to recognize a legal academic or lawyer who exemplifies the groundbreaking work of Deborah L. Rhode, the award is given to someone who has great potential to make a mark during their career as evidenced by work that brings a novel perspective or call for action in legal education or the legal profession. The winners were chosen by the Deborah L. Rhode Award Committee, which is comprised of members of the Section on Leadership, the Section on Pro Bono & Service Opportunities, the Section on Professional Responsibility and the Section on Women in Legal Education.
Through scholarship, litigation, advocacy and legislation, Greene has done extensive work to end race-based natural hair discrimination. Professor Johanna Bond, who wrote the nomination letter for Greene, said Greene’s activism has “fundamentally transformed anti-discrimination law by helping to expand non-discrimination norms to include race-based natural hair discrimination.” Greene’s #freethehair campaign has raised awareness of the issue in the United States and abroad.
“Kline Law faculty are committed to producing scholarship that makes an impact in both scholarly conversations and in society at large. Professor Greene’s scholarship and advocacy targeting race-based natural hair discrimination advances the cause of justice and it also inspires her students to imagine how they too can change the world,” said Dean Dan Filler. “I’m excited to see her groundbreaking work honored in this way.”
Learn more about Greene’s scholarship