Congressmen Cohen Votes to Send CROWN Act to the House Floor

September 15, 2020
Press Release
Prohibiting discrimination based on racial hair identity

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen, a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, today spoke in favor of, and voted in the Committee to advance to the House floor, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act. The measure would prohibit discrimination based on race-based hair styles by extending statutory protection in the workplace to hair texture and protective styles such as braids, twists and knots.

Congressman Cohen noted that state Senator Raumesh Akbari of Memphis introduced a related measure, S.B. 1832, in the Tennessee General Assembly earlier this year.

See Congressman Cohen’s remarks during the mark up here.

After the Committee vote, Congressman Cohen made the following statement:

“Black women are far more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair, and that’s not fair. Since the 1970s many courts and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission have recognized that forcing Americans to change their natural hair as a requirement for work could be racial discrimination.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to go to work and do their job without trying to change who they are. This is an issue of equity, not aesthetics.”

As a state Senator in 1995, Congressman Cohen introduced an African braiding bill in the Tennessee General Assembly.