UPDATE (July 27, 2022, 10:30 a.m. EST): On July 27, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the CROWN Act into state law, making Massachusetts the 18th state to adopt the act. The state joins California, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and more in banning discrimination based on hair textures and styles. State legislation is also currently pending in Alaska and is currently under review by the United States Senate.
UPDATE (May 18, 2022, 4:30 p.m. EST): On May 18, the United States House of Representatives voted 235-189 to pass the CROWN Act. The act had previously passed in the House in September of 2020 but failed to pass in the then-Republican-ruled Senate thereafter. Now, the act will land in the hands of the Senate, which is split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats, once again. The Biden Administration “strongly supports” the CROWN Act, and Vice President Kamala Harris will be in control of any tie-breaking vote. If it is passed, natural hair discrimination will be illegal under federal law.
The CROWN Act, a law that prohibits discrimination based on hairstyle and texture, just got one step closer to becoming a nationwide mandate. After being introduced to the House of Representatives in December 2019, the act has been passed and will now move forward to be considered by the Senate. If it is passed by the Senate, natural hair discrimination could be deemed illegal nationwide.
“For far too long, Black women have been penalized for simply existing as themselves—that ends today. The House just passed the CROWN Act to end hair discrimination,” Representative Ilhan Omar announced to Twitter on September 21. “This passage is long overdue, but an important step forward to combat racial discrimination.”
This is the simplified version of what needs to happen next in order for the Crown Act to become law across the country: At least 51 of the 100 Senate members must vote for it to pass — then, it gets handed off to the President, who has the final choice to veto or (we hope) sign it into law. Put that way, it sounds like individual citizens don’t have much control over what happens now — but that’s definitely not true.