March 18, 2022

Cori Bush Votes YES on CROWN Act, Protecting Against Race-Based Hair Discrimination

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01) voted in favor of passage of The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act introduced by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

The act would prohibit race-based hair discrimination, especially in the denial of educational and employment opportunities. The legislation prohibits this type of discrimination, which includes protective styles such as locs, twists, braids and bantu knots, against those participating in federally assisted programs, housing programs, public accommodations, and employment. Similar bills have already passed in 14 states and 30 cities.

“I know what it’s like to sit in that waiting room, to sit in that office, and know that the person on the other side of the table is judging me for the way I chose to wear my hair,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “Discrimination of Black hair has had catastrophic impacts on our society. Since this country’s founding, we have conditioned Black women and girls that their hair has to be straightened or altered in order for them to be treated fairly and with respect. No more. Today we honor and celebrate our hair in all its beauty. I’m humbled and honored to join Congresswoman Watson Coleman in this historic effort to ensure equitable access and treatment for everyone in America.”

“Natural Black hair, including hairstyles such as braids and afros, is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “Discrimination against Black hair is discrimination against Black people. I’m proud to have played a part to ensure that we end discrimination against people for how their hair grows out of their head.”

“Black women, men, and children face discrimination for wearing their natural hair texture and experience serious obstacles at work and school because of it. On top of that, Black women in particular face pressure at work to style their hair in a way that's considered more acceptable because too often, the consequences for not doing so are real and deeply felt,” said Congresswoman Gwen Moore. “I am honored to join my colleagues to protect against hair discrimination and ensure every Black person can style their crown as they please.”

“For far too long, Black women and men have faced hair discrimination at work and school simply for existing as themselves,” said Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. “I am thrilled to see the passage of this very important legislation. It’s time that natural hair is a point of pride, not something to hide. I am proud to have worked on this bill with Rep. Watson Coleman and my colleagues to end race-based hair discrimination.”

“For decades, Black and Brown people have been penalized for wearing natural hair styles deemed as ‘unprofessional’” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “It is unacceptable to be discriminated against for wearing your natural hair in the workplace, in school, or anywhere. Rep. Watson Coleman, Rep. Pressley, Rep. Omar, Rep. Moore, and I have taken direct aim at prohibiting race-based hair discrimination because everyone should be able to show up as their authentic selves and be treated with respect. I'm pleased that the CROWN Act has once again passed the House. It's time for the Senate to finish the job and make it law.”

“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,” said Congresswoman Ayanna 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. I’m honored to co-lead this bill and look forward to seeing this critical bill signed into law.”

“No one should be discriminated against because of their race, gender, or even their hair,” said Congressman Don Bacon. “Unfortunately, there has been an increase of race-based hair prejudice in the workplace, schools, and within federal assistance programs. I’m glad to work with Rep. Watson Coleman to eliminate this bias and start enforcing more equity within our community."

"As a lifelong racial equity champion who created the legislative and social impact strategy for the CROWN Act movement I lead nationwide on behalf of the CROWN Coalition I co-created, I couldn't be prouder today,” said Adjoa B. Asamoah, CROWN Act Legislative and Social Impact Strategist & CROWN Coalition Co-Creator. “Effectively tackling anti-Blackness and problematic Eurocentric standards of beauty requires partnership and leadership. I am eternally grateful to Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman for both"

??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. 



Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.