CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ/Gray News) - A group in West Virginia is advocating at the Capitol this week to ensure their voices are being heard about hair discrimination.
West Virginia lawmakers are proposing a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against different hairstyles and hair textures.
House Bill 4508 would make it illegal to discriminate against natural hair texture or hairstyles.
"At the end of the day we have to make sure anyone that is seeking to reside here will know that they will be protected," said Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, D-Cabell. "The bill is good for everybody, and we need to make sure it gets its day."
Advocates say people are being punished for their ethnic hairstyles such as Afros, braids, dreadlocks and twists.
They say having hairstyles like these help keep their natural hair chemical free.
Tarsha Bolt of Beckley says her son was benched from his basketball games by his coach until he cut off his dreadlocks.
"We're being targeted and saying that our hair is not acceptable and it's just not right," Bolt said. "It's plain old hair discrimination, so that's why I'm so fired up about getting this bill passed."
States like New York and California have already banned discrimination against natural hair. California lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of the bill.
The bill is currently in committee. If it doesn't make the agenda by Sunday, it will be tabled.
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