Vermont-based Kenyan woman Angela Lawrence stands on the cusp of witnessing a transformative development, pending the passage of a groundbreaking bill aimed at prohibiting discrimination based on an individual’s hair.
Having personally faced discrimination due to her distinctive hair, the woman is driven by the concern that her two sons might encounter similar challenges. Taking proactive steps, she approached her state representative, Mike Mrowicki, who collaborated on a bill expressly targeting hair-based discrimination. Mrowicki, responding to the plea of Angela Lawrence, a former US Army member and a mother of two, introduced the bill to address and prevent mistreatment that people of colour often endure concerning their hair.
The bill garnered further support as Mrowicki’s counterpart Saudia LaMont co-sponsored it, aiming to shield individuals from harassment or mockery based on their hair texture and styles. Acknowledging the gravity of the issue, politicians underscore that discrimination based on hair is a tangible problem affecting individuals in various spheres, including education and employment. Instances of denial of job opportunities solely due to hair appearance highlight the unfairness of such recruitment practices, hindering qualified candidates from rightful opportunities.
The Vermont House has already passed the bill, signalling a significant step towards legislative change. The hope now rests on the Senate’s approval before the governor signs it into law. If successful, this bill will extend anti-discrimination statutes to encompass protection against hair-based bias in public places and employment. Vermont will join the ranks of states like California, New York, Washington, and Texas in taking a decisive stand against hair texture discrimination.