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In July 2016, a news story went viral about a school in Pretoria, South Africa, banning black girls from wearing natural hairstyles like Afros because they were “untidy” and “unladylike.”

In March 2017, twins Grace and Thabisa, who are of South Sudanese descent, were pulled out of their classes at Bentleigh Seconday School in Melbourne, Australia, and told to remove their braids because it didn’t “represent the school.” After an uproar from parents who said the policy was an attack on African culture, the girls were allowed to return to school.

Last week, there was a story about twins Maya and Deanna Cook, students at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School in Malden, Mass., who were kicked off their sports teams and prohibited from attending a prom because they wore their hair in braids.

Black Hair, African American Hair, Natural Hair, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Black Hair, African American Hair, Natural Hair, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Black Hair, African American Hair, Natural Hair, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

On April 12, 2015, Baltimore Police Department officers arrested Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African American resident of Baltimore, Maryland. Gray sustained injuries to his neck and spine while in transport in a police vehicle. On April 18, 2015, after Gray’s subsequent coma, the residents of Baltimore protested in front of the Western district police station. Gray died the following day, April 19, 2015, a week after the arrest.

Further protests were organized after Gray’s death became public knowledge, amid the police department’s continuing inability to adequately or consistently explain the events following the arrest and the injuries. Spontaneous protests started after the funeral service, although several included violent elements. Civil unrest continued with at least twenty police officers injured, at least 250 people arrested, 285 to 350 businesses damaged, 150 vehicle fires, 60 structure fires, 27 drugstores looted, thousands of police and Maryland National Guard troops deployed, and with a state of emergency declared in the city limits of Baltimore. The state of emergency was lifted on May 6.

On May 1, 2015, Gray’s death was ruled by the medical examiner to be a homicide. Six officers were charged with various offenses, including second-degree murder, in connection with Gray’s death. Three officers were subsequently acquitted; in July 2016, following the acquittals, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the remaining three officers. (Wikipedia).