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.
To help ensure the Crown Act's passage in the Senate, you can contact Senators in a multitude of ways. One of the easiest and most common is email: In fact, the Senate's website has a convenient directory where you can identify and local each state's pair of senators and where you can write them a message. You can also call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, where an operator can connect you with the Senate office of your choosing.
But not every email or call can be acknowledged, sadly. If you really want to get a Senator's attention, reaching out via social media and urging them to pass the Crown Act is never a bad idea, either. Here is a handy PDF of every current Congressperson's Twitter handles. Tell them why the act is important to you, why it should be important to them, and what immediate positive effects the bill could have on other people.
In all honesty, it's silly that anyone even has to consider making hair discrimination illegal — in a perfect world, it would have been from the start. Still, if we're going to ensure better and safer lives for Black people in this country, everyone needs to chip in and help. So have at it folks; let's get this sucker passed.
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