The United States House of Representatives just passed The CROWN Act, which would legally prohibit discrimination based on a Black person's hairstyle or texture nationwide.
The House Judiciary announced the news on Monday via Twitter, writing, "The #CROWNAct will explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of natural hair as a form of race or national origin discrimination."
Representative Cedric Richmond, along with Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Marcia Fudge, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, introduced the bill to the House, where it was passed, and now the CROWN Act (which stands for "Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair") will go to the Senate for consideration. The news comes just days after the law went into effect in Colorado, making it the seventh state to officially make natural hair discrimination illegal.
The people’s House just passed the #CROWNAct. I’m proud to have introduced this legislation and thank my colleagues @RepBarbaraLee @RepMarciaFudge @RepPressley for their contributions to this bill and for wearing their own crowns with pride and dignity. pic.twitter.com/NE89Ws65eH— Rep Cedric Richmond (@RepRichmond) September 21, 2020
Rep. Lee shared the news with her supporters on Twitter, writing, "No one should feel forced to change their natural hair." Massachusetts Representative Katherine Clark publicly voiced her support, adding that "discrimination against Black hair is racist. It stops equality in school and the workplace." Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar called the passage "long overdue," but noted that it is an essential step in fighting racial discrimination. "For far too long, Black women have been penalized for simply existing as themselves—that ends today," she wrote.
FACT: The #CROWNAct will explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of natural hair as a form of race or national origin discrimination. pic.twitter.com/pS0Pu2Cp9P— House Judiciary Dems (@HouseJudiciary) September 21, 2020
While the House passing The CROWN Act marks a pivotal step in ending discrimination across the country, the fight is nowhere near over. Only seven states have passed the legislation so far, including California (where the CROWN Act was first introduced by State Senator Holly Mitchell), New York, Washington, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Colorado. Now, at least 51 of 100 U.S. Senate representatives will have to approve the legislation before it is then handed off to the President to sign into law.
Now is the time to get in touch with your state senators to urge them to pass this legislation, which would bypass the states who haven't yet signed it into law (including the 14 states where it was filed and it did not pass) and create much-needed change at the federal level.
We'll continue to update this story as news on The CROWN Act develops.