The U.S. just got one step closer to ending hair discrimination at the federal level. On Friday, March 18th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, a bill that would ban race-based hair discrimination in the workplace and in federally funded programs like public housing.
BREAKING: @HouseDemocrats have PASSED the #CROWNAct, a critically important civil rights bill that would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of hair texture or hairstyles commonly associated with a particular race or national origin. pic.twitter.com/FLqBBIIsmw— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) March 18, 2022
For those who aren’t aware, this is the second time that this legislation has passed through the House. During September of 2020, the CROWN Act was first passed through the House, and later blocked by the then-Republican ruled Senate. With this most recent passing, the bill will soon head to the Senate to be voted on, under the guidance of legislative sponsors Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.
While the hope is that this time around will be different, it is worth noting that the Senate is currently split 50-50 and the bill is facing a lot of opposition from Republicans who feel that there are already many protections in place for discrimination of this type.
In fact, Rep. Watson Coleman even mentioned in a recent Twitter post that 188 House Republicans temporarily prevented the passage of the CROWN Act on the last day of Black History Month.
On February 28 — the last day of Black History Month — 188 House Republicans temporarily obstructed passage of the #CROWNAct.— Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (@RepBonnie) March 18, 2022
Despite what my GOP colleagues may tell you, this bill is too important to give up on. That’s why today, I brought it to the floor again. (1/11)
“Despite what my GOP colleagues may tell you, this bill is too important to give up on,” she wrote on March 18th. “That’s why today, I brought it to the floor again.”
She continued saying, “To write off hair discrimination as an unimportant issue is to suggest that Congress need not address the still-prevalent issue of systemic racism. This represents a blatant disregard for the struggles of Black people — especially Black women and girls — in our country.”
The good news is that President Biden has already voiced his support for the bill, saying he would sign it into law if it were to reach his desk.
“The President believes that no person should be denied the ability to obtain a job, succeed in school or the workplace, secure housing, or otherwise exercise their rights based on hair texture or hair style,” the White House said in a statement.
They added that, “the Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact this legislation and ensure that it is effectively implemented.”
If the CROWN Act is passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden, natural hair discrimination would officially be illegal nationwide.
So What Can You Do to Help?
To help ensure that this happens and the CROWN Act passes in the Senate, it is important to contact your state’s senators and urge them to pass the bill. By far the easiest method is to reach out via email. The Senate’s website even has a directory where you can locate each state’s pair of senators and where you can write them a message. If you prefer to contact them by phone, the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 has an operator that can connect you with the correct Senate office.
For more information about the CROWN Act, be sure to visit their website here or follow them @thecrownact on Instagram.