TROY, TX — Ever since her biracial son Maddox spent nearly 2 weeks in in-school at Troy ISD suspension for his hairstyle last month, Hope Cozart and her family have pushed a conversation about what they call hair discrimination.
“It’s ridiculous if you think about it why are we judging somebody on their natural hair and how they wear it. There are more important things in this world to be dealing with,” said Cozart.
The Family testified in favor of the CROWN Act last month. The bill would ban educational, employment and housing discrimination on the basis of hair texture or style, including braids, locs and twist.
However, time appears up. Last week, the Texas House working until its midnight deadline passing bills and the Crown Act didn’t make it.
“I know that they have a ton of bills going on right now but they’re kind of overshadowing our bill,” said Cozart. “Ours, I feel, it’s just as important as the abortion bill, gun bills that are going on and the voting bill.”
Military Veteran and Killeen NAACP member Ron Jupiter who dreads his hair to honor his Caribbean Heritage advocated for the bill.
“I did 28 years 4 combat tours, so that your kids and my kids can have freedom of expression in school,” said Jupiter.
Jupiter said without the legislation people of different races, religions and other backgrounds can’t freely express themselves, especially kids like Maddox.
“We have lived and existed in a system that only values things from one ethnic group. Let’s remove the biases. Let’s not be ethnocentric in the standards that we put on the kids,” said Jupiter.
Despite falling short, Cozart, Jupiter and others are still pushing to let anyone wear their hair the way they see fit free of judgement.
Similar legislation, Senate Bill 77, is still being considered in the Texas Senate. If it's not passed by the end of the legislative session on May 31st, then it'll take two years until it is reintroduced.