Republicans Block Anti-Black Hair Discrimination Bill; New Jersey Democrats Vow to Pass the Legislation

by Shine My Crown Staff
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New Jersey House Republicans voted to block the Crown Act on Monday.

The bill would prohibit race-based hair discrimination. The bill needed a two-thirds majority to pass. It received 235 votes for and 188 votes against the bill. All those against the bill were Republicans.

“It’s a bad, hair bill,” U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado told WFAA following the vote. “We can’t believe this is news, but here you are.”

However, congressional Democrats vowed to bring the bill up for a vote again in the very near future.

“We won’t allow Republican antics to stand in the way of Black people having the right to live as their authentic selves,” Democratic Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, Barbara Lee, Gwen Moore, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar said in a joint statement.

CROWN stands for: Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. The CROWN Act was created in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition to protect against discrimination based on race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists and knots in the workplace and public schools.

According to a 2019 Dove CROWN Research Study, Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.

Despite the bill not passing in the House, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed the Crown Act with bipartisan support.

“At the heart of this bill is the ability to allow more people to show up as their authentic selves in school or in the workplace without fear of repercussions because of their hair,” Rep. Esther Agbaje, of Minneapolis, Agbaje said on the House floor.

According to a coalition of organizations campaigning for the legislation, fourteen states have passed similar laws against hair bias.

“Our natural hair is as innate a quality of Black people as the presence of melanin in our skin,” congresswoman Coleman said. “Discriminating against our hair is no different is no different than discriminating against the color of our skin.”

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