Landmark Federal Bill H.R. 2116 Led by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) Passes on Friday, March 18, 2022 AND the Massachusetts State House Passes the CROWN Act Unanimously on Thursday, March 17, 2022, to Protect Against Hair Discrimination In Workplaces and Schools
The Executive Office of. The President Extends their Official Support for The CROWN Act
The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty and Color Of Change, along with over 90 members of the CROWN Coalition praise the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the CROWN Act of 2022. Led by Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey’s 12th congressional district), along with 116 cosponsors, the Democratic-led House voted 235-189 to pass the CROWN Act.
Roll Call | Bill Number H.R. 2116 – March 18, 2022 (117th Congress 2nd Session)
235 – 189
*14 Republicans voted “yay” to passing the CROWN Act
This week, the Massachusetts State House also passed the CROWN Act by a unanimous vote on Thursday, March 17, 2022, and will now go to the State Senate for consideration. The bill sponsor, Malden State Rep. Steven Ultrino, believes this law is long overdue. “This message is to those people who have been discriminated against, whether in the workplace or in schools, that it’s not going to tolerated,” said Rep. Ultrino. | source: CBS News, Boston
The CROWN Act legislation (H.R. 2116) provides legal protection from hair discrimination based on the texture of natural hair or hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, bantu knots and Afros. The bill would require that discrimination on this basis be treated as if it were race or national origin discrimination under Titles VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and certain other Federal civil rights laws. | source: WhiteHouse.Gov
Per an official statement released by the Executive Office of the President on March 15, 2022, “The President believes that no person should be denied the ability to obtain a job, succeed in school or the workplace, secure housing, or otherwise exercise their rights based on a hair texture or hair style. Over the course of our Nation’s history, society has used hair texture and hairstyle — along with race, national origin, and skin color— to discriminate against individuals. Pernicious forms of systemic racism persist when dress and grooming codes, for example, prohibit hair texture or hairstyle that is commonly associated with a particular race or national origin. Such discrimination has imposed significant economic costs, learning disruption, and denial of economic opportunities for people of color. Black women, for example, experience discrimination in hiring because of natural hair styles, and Black girls experience disproportionate rates of school discipline, sometimes for discriminatory hair violations.” | source: WhiteHouse.Gov
“Natural Black hair is often deemed ‘unprofessional’ simply because it does not conform to white beauty standards,” said Rep. 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.”
So…what’s next? The companion bill now heads to the Senate, where Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey has sponsored the chamber’s version of the bill. | source: Congress.Gov
“This has been a tremendous week for the CROWN ACT! First, a nod from the President and now the federal bill passes in the US House of Representatives,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever North America. “Dove believes Black women, men and children should have the freedom to wear their natural hair without the fear of job loss or education. On behalf of Dove and the Coalition, we applaud Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman and the U.S. House of Representatives for taking this important action again.”
“As a lifelong racial equity champion, I am beyond proud to be the one who developed the legislative strategy for the CROWN Act, and to lead this nationwide movement on behalf of the CROWN Coalition I co-created. I’m forever grateful for the many lawmakers who trusted me early on, including my good friends former Congressman Cedric Richmond and Senator Cory Booker, and championed this groundbreaking legislation.” – Adjoa B. Asamoah, Lead Strategist
“The National Urban League continues to be a strong supporter behind the mission of THE CROWN ACT, and we are committed to making an impact with the CROWN Coalition,” said Marc Morial, CEO of the National Urban League and one of the founding members of the CROWN Coalition. “Hair discrimination, whether in schools or in the workforce should simply not be allowed and we will continue to rally policymakers and our communities to end discriminatory practices that disproportionality affects our communities of color. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman has our support, now let’s work to get it passed in the Senate chamber.” – Marc Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League (NUL) and one of the original founding members of the CROWN Coalition
- The inaugural CROWN Act was signed into law by Governor Newsom in California on July 3, 2019 and went into effect January 1, 2020.
- National CROWN Day (July 3) is a special annual holiday commemorating the inaugural signing of the first CROWN Act legislation in the United States in 2019 to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.”
- In 2019, Dove and the CROWN Coalition partnered with then State Senator Holly J. Mitchell of California to introduce The CROWN Act legislation to address the disparate impact of hair discrimination on Black people in workplaces and in schools. California Senate Bill 188 (SB 188) was introduced in January 2019 and signed into law on July 3, 2019, making California the first state to prohibit discrimination based on protective hairstyles and hair texture associated with race.
- The law has been passed in 14 states and 36 municipalities.
- Nineteen (19) additional states have introduced the legislation this year.
- With the passing of The CROWN Act in the House of Representatives, the federal bill now advances to the U.S. Senate for the second time.
“The CROWN Act underscores the critical importance of moving policy and culture towards a more inclusive America, and we applaud all our state and federal legislators who have pushed this legislation forward. We are honored that Dove and our CROWN Coalition partners entrusted us to create and lead this modern civil rights movement to end race-based hair discrimination and are immensely proud as we inch closer to this becoming the law of land,” said Kelli Richardson Lawson and Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, principal owners of JOY Collective, the firm responsible for originating the idea and legislative movement behind the CROWN Act.
As a founding member of The CROWN Coalition, Dove has championed The CROWN Act movement, created, and driven by a team of Black leaders working with a village of women who share a desire to end discrimination including Esi Eggleston Bracey and Erin Goldson of Dove, Los Angeles County Supervisor, Holly J. Mitchell, and JOY Collective agency leaders, Kelli Richardson Lawson, Orlena Nwokah Blanchard, and Adjoa B. Asamoah as lead legislative strategist. We are encouraging everyone to join The CROWN Act movement and help us #PASSTHECROWN to end race-based hair discrimination in the U.S. by signing the petition at www.thecrownact.com.
About The CROWN Coalition
The CROWN Coalition is a national alliance founded by Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law & Poverty, to end race-based hair discrimination in America. The Coalition, now consisting of 85 supporting organizations, is the founder of the CROWN Act movement and was the official sponsor of the inaugural CROWN Act legislation in California in 2019. For a full list of CROWN Coalition members, visit www.theCROWNact.com.
The CROWN Coalition is proud to support anti-hair discrimination legislation to address unfair grooming policies that have a disparate impact on Black women, men and children and has drawn attention to cultural and racial discrimination taking place within workplaces and public schools. The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors.
SAVE THE DATE:
Sunday, July 3, 2022 is National CROWN Day!
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Fight Voting Barriers in Texas
A group of organizations of color recently came together on Sept. 11 in San Antonio to represent a lawsuit they filed arguing Senate Bill 1 violates the First, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act by intentionally targeting and burdening methods and means of voting used by voters of color.
Representatives gathered at the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (in San Antonio) to represent their case. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Reed Smith LLP, and The Arc filed the lawsuit for the Houston Area Urban League, Houston Justice, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Arc of Texas.
The defendants in the case are Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Deputy Secretary of State of Texas Jose Esparza, Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton, Elections Administrator of Bexar County Jacque Callanen, and Elections Administrator of Harris County Isabel Longoria.
S.B. 1 includes a series of suppressive voting-related provisions that will make it much harder for Texas residents to vote and disenfranchise some altogether, particularly Black and Latino voters and voters with disabilities.
The plaintiffs claim the law violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act by imposing barriers against voters with disabilities and denying people with disabilities equal opportunities to participate in the state’s voting programs.
The lawsuit challenges multiple provisions in SB 1, including:
- Limitations on early voting hours and constraints on the distribution of mail-in ballot applications.
- The elimination of drive-thru voting centers and the prohibition of mail-in ballot drop-boxes.
“Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. has been fighting for the rights of all U.S. citizens to vote for 108 years,” said Delta Sigma Theta President and CEO Beverly E. Smith. “S.B. 1 directly threatens the right to vote of over 20,000 members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and their family and friends in Texas, and we are committed to fight against S.B. 1 on their behalf.”
Texas is among more than 40 other states that have enacted legislative efforts to substantially restrict voting access. LDF and The Arc are also involved in litigation challenging Georgia’s restrictive voting laws.
Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley Honored with National Monuments
The legacies of Emmett Till, along with his mother Mamie Till-Mobley, will be honored with national monuments. This commemoration comes on what would have been Emmett’s 82nd birthday, according to Ebony Entertainment.
Following his brutal murder, EBONY’s sister publication JET published photos of Till’s mutilated body, which shook the nation and brought much-needed attention to the plight of Black Americans in the United States. Last year, legislation was passed by Congress to award Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley with posthumous Congressional Gold Medals.
On July 25, President Joe Biden plans to sign a proclamation establishing the Emmett Till and Mamie Till-Mobley National Monument in both Illinois and Mississippi across three separate sites.
As shared with EBONY, the sites will include Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ in Bronzeville, Chicago, Mississippi’s Graball Landing and the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi. Each of these locations hold deep significance in the understanding of Emmett Till’s story.
Thousands mourned Emmett’s murder in 1955 in Bronzeville, the historically Black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. Till’s mutilated body was pulled from Graball Landing’s Tallahatchie River. Lastly, the Tallahatchie County Second District Courthouse in Sumner, Mississippi is the site where his murderers were tried and acquitted by an all-white jury.
A White House Official shared that the designation of these monuments “reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s work to advance civil rights and commitment to protecting places that help tell a more complete story of our nation’s history.”
PBS’s Special: Murder of Emmett Till (April 2023)
In August 1955, a 14-year-old Black boy allegedly flirted with a white woman in a grocery store in Money, Mississippi. Emmett Till, a teen from Chicago, didn’t understand that he had broken the unwritten laws of the Jim Crow South until three days later, when two white men dragged him from his bed in the dead of night, beat him brutally and then shot him in the head.
Although his killers were arrested and charged with murder, they were both acquitted quickly by an all-white, all-male jury. Shortly afterwards, the defendants sold their story, including their tale of how they murdered Till, to a journalist. The murder and the trial horrified the nation and the world. Till’s death was a spark that helped mobilize the civil rights movement. Three months after his body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, the Montgomery bus boycott began.
Commissioner Tommy Calvert Attends Historic Juneteenth Event
Commissioner Tommy Calvert was invited to the White House by President Biden for the first White House Juneteenth Celebration on June 13, 2023.
Vice President Harris started the program by recognizing that the Black leaders invited to the celebration helped make the Juneteenth holiday possible.
“Juneteenth is the holiday that most speaks to the promise of America for freedom for all,” Calvert said. “I have done my best to improve our elections system, break up the good old boy system of contracting in San Antonio for minority businesses, and expand human rights for all globally. I want to thank the President for recognizing my contributions to freedom and I appreciated sharing Juneteenth with him and other top Black leaders from around America.”
The grandmother of Juneteenth, Opal Lee (96), had the crowd roaring when she proclaimed, “If people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love and it is up to you to do it. We must get together and get rid of the disparities—the joblessness, the homelessness, the healthcare that some people can get and others can’t, and the climate change that we are responsible for…And if we don’t do something about it, we’re all going to hell in a handbasket.”
Recently, Calvert presented Bexar County’s Highest Honor to Lee at True Vision Church on June 18, 2023. At 89 years old, Lee walked 2.5 miles a day to symbolize the more than two years that elapsed before slaves in Texas and Louisiana knew they were free.
Hip-hop icon Method Man took to the podium to bridge the White House ceremony’s inclusion of June as Black Music Month.
“During Black Music Month, a concert is a fitting way to recognize Juneteenth and express this part of our shared American history,” said Method Man. “For it is through music that African Americans found community and found solace. Music has the power to uplift us, enrich our minds, and nourish our souls.”
San Antonio natives John Burns and Mike Burns helped produce the event. Their mother, Dr. Diana Burns Banks, is Commissioner Calvert’s appointee to the University Health System Board of Directors.
Please provide photo & video credits “Courtesy of Commissioner Tommy Calvert”
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