A Minnesota Democrat introduced a bill last week that would ban discrimination based on “hair texture and hair styles.”
The bill was introduced January 31 by Rep. Rena Moran (DFL-St. Paul) and currently has nine Democratic co-sponsors.
According to the text of the bill, it would amend the Minnesota Human Rights Act by broadening the definition of “race” to include “traits historically associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locks, and twists.”
“As an African American person myself, I know and my children know that the texture of our hair makes people uncomfortable,” Moran told City Pages.
Similar bills have passed in California, New York, New Jersey, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Cincinnati, Ohio, according to the CROWN Coalition, a movement seeking to pass protections against discrimination based on hairstyles. At least 20 other states are considering the CROWN Act, which stands for “creating a respectful and open world for natural hair.”
More than 54,000 people have signed the CROWN Coalition’s petition to lawmakers to “end hair discrimination in the workplace and schools.”
“Currently, it is legal to discriminate against a person in the workplace or in schools because of their natural or protective hairstyle in all states except for California, New York, and New Jersey. Hair discrimination remains a source of racial injustice with serious economic consequences for Black people,” states the petition.
Dove, National Urban League, Color of Change, and the Western Center on Law and Poverty are members of the CROWN Coalition.
Moran’s bill was referred to the House Government Operations Committee but won’t receive a hearing until after the legislative session begins February 11.
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