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House passes CROWN Act prohibiting discrimination based on hair

Rep. Esther Agbaje introduces HF37, the CROWN Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on traits associated with race, such as hair texture and hair styles. The bill passed on a 111-19 vote Jan. 11. (Photo by Catherine Davis)

Hair discrimination is a proxy for racial discrimination, Rep. Esther Agbaje (DFL-Mpls) said on the House Floor Wednesday.

She spoke about the many times she has felt pressure to straighten her natural hair out of fear of losing a job or not being taken as seriously in the workplace.

Agbaje sponsors HF37, passed by the House 111-19, which specifies that racial discrimination prohibited under the Minnesota Human Rights Act would include discrimination based on “traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.”

“The purpose of the bill is to allow more people to show up as their authentic selves in school or in the workplace without fear of repercussion because of their hair,” she said.

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