Texas Legislature Passes Crown Act, Which Would Ban Hairstyle Discrimination


The Texas Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill Friday that would ban race-based hair discrimination in schools, employment, and housing. The upper chamber’s bipartisan vote takes the LoneStar state one step closer to adopting a law based on ending the lived experience of two Black high school students near Houston who were threatened with discipline in the 2019-2020 school year for not cutting their locks.

The State Senate passed the measure overwhelming, 29-1.

Authored and initially filed in the state by State Rep. Rhetta Bowers (D-Garland), the Crown Act—House Bill 567—was passed by the House in April with a 143-5 vote. In the upper chamber, State Senator Borris Miles (D-Houston) carried the bill, which now waits for signature from the Texas Governor to become law codifying the state’s ban on racial discrimination based on hairstyle or textual.

“I am pleased that we successfully passed the CROWN Act out of the Senate Chamber with bipartisan support,” said State Senator Miles, in a statement.

So far, 20 states have passed the CROWN Act since the national coalition was created in 2019, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington.

“I believe how the hair naturally grows out of our heads should have nothing to do with what is inside,” said Bowers to the House committee during testimony. “And therefore with any of the success that we accomplish, the time is now for Texas to take up this civil rights legislation and protect the people from racial discrimination.”

Standing for, Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, the Crown Act led by the Crown Coalition was by a group of dedicated and concerned black women working to protect against discrimination based race-based hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, locs, twists, and knots in the workplace and public schools.

“I want to personally thank the CROWN Act Champ, Adjoa B. Asamoah, the architect of this bill for leading the charge, not just in Texas, but the nation, to protect Texans of color from discrimination. I also want to thank Representative Rhetta Andrews Bowers, the author of the CROWN Act for bringing a supermajority of bipartisan support in the Texas House, ” said State Senator Miles in the same statement.

Asamoah, known as the CROWN Act champion, is an impact strategist, racial equity expert and policy architect. As one of the leading voices behind creating the first office of African-African Affair on the municipal level in the nation, Asamoah saw the creation of the Crown Act movement as a natural extension of dedication to racial equity. She said, “As a policy architect who conceptualized changing the law in 2018, subsequently developed the legislative and social impact strategies for the CROWN Act, and leads the nationwide movement to outlaw race-based hair discrimination, I am overjoyed by the full passage in the Texas legislature.”

She continued, “I’m forever grateful for the servant leadership of Representative Bowers and Senator Miles. They both embody what it means to lead boldly and commit to ushering a bill across the finish line,” said Asamoah. “The partnership between the three of us has been invaluable as we have worked collaboratively, strategically, and tirelessly to accomplish a goal set back in 2019.”

Once signed by the Governor, the Texas law would add to the state’s education, labor and property codes a prohibition on discrimination based on certain hairstyles — including braids, dreadlocks and twists.

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