The Boston City Council voiced their support for a bill at the statehouse that would protect women, specifically black women and girls, from being discriminated against in terms of their natural hair.
Councilor Lydia Edwards supported the bill saying there is over-regulation across the country in regards to hair that often results in young girls of color not being able to go to school and being expelled.
Edwards said these rules and regulations would have impacted her negatively when she was a young girl.
“It was shocking to me because my hair is natural,” she said. “These regulations were a slap in the face because they tell you the way your hair is growing is so offensive that you shouldn’t be able to grow it that way.”
“I needed to give you a face on who this bill would be impacting. A younger version of me,” the councilor added.
Edwards said it has been a process throughout her own life to be proud of her natural hair. She mentioned a 2017 incident in neighboring Malden where two girls were sent home from school because of the hair. One girl was told she would not be allowed back to school until her hair was straightened.
“This would have hurt me and my children,” she said. “This isn’t about self-expression either. It’s about being able to go to school and learn. Simple as that.”
She plans on looking into Boston Public School’s policies to make sure they do not hinder a student’s ability to learn because of hair.
Councilor Kim Janey supported the bill, saying she deeply understands this issue.
“This is about letting our young girls just learn,” she said to her colleagues. “We should not be trying to mandate the way hair grows out of heads.”