Pressley’s CROWN Act To Ban Hair Discrimination Passes House

House passage of H.R. 2116, Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act
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Photos: Twitter\Screenshot

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) applauded the House passage of H.R. 2116, Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, her legislation with Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13) and Ilhan Omar (MN-05) that would ban discrimination based on hair textures and hairstyles that are commonly associated with a particular race or national origin.

“For centuries, Black folks’ hair—particularly that of Black women—has been politicized and weaponized to discriminate and reject the dignity and beauty of our people. Natural hair is beautiful hair, and no amount of racism or ignorance from the other side of the aisle will stop the power of our movement,” said Rep. Pressley. “By passing the CROWN Act out of the House today, we’re taking a bold step toward ending race-based hair discrimination and affirming the right for all of us to show up in the world as our full and authentic selves, no matter where we work or go to school. I’m so grateful to Reps. Watson-Coleman, Lee, Omar and Moore for their partnership on this legislation and look forward to seeing this critical bill signed into law.”

Earlier today, Rep. Pressley delivered a speech on the House floor in which she called for passage of the CROWN Act. A full transcript of her remarks is available here.

The CROWN Act is cosponsored by a bipartisan group of 116 Representatives. A companion bill is sponsored in the Senate by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker.

In September, Rep. Pressley and Rep. Jim McGovern (MA-02) led their colleagues in re-introducing the Wigs as Durable Medical Equipment Act, legislation to help individuals affected by Alopecia Areata and patients with cancer who are undergoing chemotherapy by allowing medical wigs and other head coverings to be covered under the Medicare program.

In 2020, the House passed an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Pressley to provide $5 million dollars for the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases to fund research on the causes, impacts, and possible treatments of Alopecia areata.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley

Addendum

Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, released the following statement in support of the CROWN Act legislation:

“Passage of the CROWN Act by the House of Representatives moves our nation one step closer to federal protection for Black women, men and children from discrimination across the country simply because of their natural hair or hairstyle.

"We urge the Senate to quickly take up this important legislation, which would ensure that Black students are not prohibited from attending or participating in school events because of their natural hair, that Black employees are not subject to pretextual firing or negative employment actions because of their hair texture or style, and that Black people are accorded dignity and respect in choosing to embrace a natural hairstyle.

"Restrictions on Black hairstyles and textures in workplaces and school campuses are relics of white supremacy. This explicit protection against racial discrimination on the basis of hairstyles is long overdue.”

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