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Republican Lawmakers Kill A Bill That Would Ban Discrimination Against Black Hairstyles 

#Republican lawmakers in #WestVirginia have halted the passage of the #CROWNAct, legislation aimed at preventing discrimination based on Black #hairstyles. This decision came on February 28, when the act was excluded from the list of bills to be deliberated for the rest of the legislative session. The bill, introduced by Democratic Senator Mike Caputo, sought to prohibit discrimination against hair textures and styles associated with a particular race.

"We hear horror stories all the time about how, particularly women of color, are treated differently because of their hairstyle, their natural hairstyle, or their traditional hairstyles," Caputo said. "We need to move forward in America, not backward. It's a shame we still are having discussions like that. I'm ashamed that in West Virginia we can't at least do that much." 

However, Sen. Eric Tarr, a Republican, redirected the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, which he oversees, on February 23, allowing it to stall there. As reported by the Mountain State Spotlight and a legislative spokesperson, Tarr justified his action by citing potential litigation costs as a concern. 

The act's failure to progress has been met with disappointment and frustration among its advocates, including Veronica Bunch, who has been a vocal supporter of the CROWN Act in West Virginia. She and others have highlighted instances of hair discrimination in the state, including a high school basketball player benched for his locs and a cheerleader asked to change her hairstyle.

Despite these efforts, the legislation was ultimately withdrawn from Senate consideration, sparking criticism of West Virginia's leadership and the state's reluctance to address racial discrimination. Advocates remain hopeful that future efforts will lead to the enactment of similar protections.

The setback in West Virginia, where Republican lawmakers thwarted the passage of the CROWN Act, is a disheartening reminder of the ongoing struggle against racial discrimination. By sidelining legislation aimed at protecting Black hairstyles, these lawmakers have perpetuated systemic inequalities and ignored the urgent need for progress.

Link: NBCNews 


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