Puerto Rico is looking to better support citizens with natural hair. Officials are looking to pass a bill to end discrimination against popular Black hairstyles.
As spotted on Blavity the Island of Enchantment is apparently facing some serious issues regarding hair texture. In January Sen. Ana Irma Rivera Lassén and Sen. Rafael Bernabe proposed a bill that would protect Puerto Ricans who wear natural hairstyles from discrimination relating to employment, housing and education. The filing includes “tight coils or curls, locs, bonded braids, twists, braids, Bantu knots, and afros” as applicable styles protected under the bill.
On Jan. 23 the two officials heard testimony from several citizens who claimed they suffered economically due to their hair. “I’m 23 years old, and I’m tired of this problem,” said Julia Llanos Bultrón, an educator who has cornrows. “I’m very disappointed with a system that pushes us to change the hair with which we’re born.” Mother Lorraine León Ramírez tells NBC News that her youngest son, who wears an afro, that he was banned from two schools until he cut his hair. “It was one of the worst experiences we’ve had as a family,” she added.
While the bill has received support from students, activists and more others question why hair needs explicit protection. The 2020 Census reports that over three million people live in Puerto Rico many of them who are of African descent.
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