The Massachusetts state Senate unanimously voted on Thursday in favor of a invoice banning discrimination based mostly on an individual’s hair texture or fashion.
Many senators spoke on the problem together with newly elected Boston Democrat Lydia Edwards, the Senate’s solely Black member.
“You must understand what systemic racism does is not just prohibit economic opportunity and jobs. It diminishes the soul. It diminishes yourself of who you are because of something you cannot control,” Edwards mentioned. “And it took me so long, so long, as a part of my life to ever say that my hair is long, that it is beautiful and that is natural.”
The proposed state laws is a model of the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, and is a invoice in Congress in search of to ban discrimination based mostly on an individual’s hair texture or fashion. It has handed the U.S. House, however not but the Senate.
This laws stems from a Malden constitution faculty that banned hair braid extensions in 2017 after sisters Deanna and Mya Cook got a number of hours of detention for a way they styled their hair. Both sisters have been current for the Senate vote.
Several states together with New York have already applied their very own variations of the CROWN Act. The model Massachusetts is contemplating prohibits hair discrimination within the office and in faculties.
A barely totally different model of the invoice beforehand handed the Massachusetts House. The Senate included two amendments that stretch discrimination protections to non secular faculties and personal faculty athletes.
Gov. Charlie Baker has indicated his assist.
State House News Service contributed to this report.
This story is a part of the New England News Collaborative. It was initially printed by New England Public Media.