House passes bill that would make natural hair discrimination illegal nationwide

ByJacqueline Lauren Yates, Good Morning America ABCNews logo
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
House passes natural hair anti-discrimination bill
In a majority of states, Black men and women can still be fired and children can still be sent home from school because of the way they wear their hair.

It's been more than a year since California became the first state to pass a law banning natural hair discrimination.

On Monday, the organization behind The CROWN Act (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), which ensures protection against race-based hair discrimination, said the U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar bill ending hair discrimination.

The federal bill will now move on to the U.S. Senate. "We are one step closer to ending #hairdiscrimination nationwide," The CROWN Act tweeted after the news.

Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond and the Congressional Black Caucus have been leading the charge for the bill's approval.

"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," Richmond said in a statement.

California Rep. Barbara Lee also chimed in after the bill passed. Along with a moving video featuring several images of herself wearing natural hairstyles, she said, "No one should feel forced to change their natural hair. I've been rocking my crown for decades and everybody should feel empowered to rock theirs too."

California state senator Holly J. Mitchell was instrumental in getting the bill passed in California in 2019. Following her efforts, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Colorado, Washington and Maryland -- in addition to municipalities in Cincinnati as well as Montgomery County, Maryland -- have also passed laws banning natural hair discrimination.

"Until Congress is able to recognize that the quality of my work as an employee or student is based on what's inside my head and not how I choose to wear my hair, we will continue the state-by-state strategy to pass the CROWN Act in every state in our nation," Mitchell previously told GMA.

RELATED: National Crown Day: 7 states have passed laws to ban natural hair discrimination

Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar also shared the news on Twitter. "For far too long, Black women have been penalized for simply existing as themselves - that ends today," she said, adding, "This passage is long overdue, but an important step forward to combat racial discrimination."

July 3 has also been declared "National Crown Day."

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