Bill aims to ban natural hair discrimination in Nebraska

Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 5:45 PM CDT
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In less than a month the Legislature will resume after the pandemic forced them to suspend the session.

Many people are hoping one bill in particular is at the top of legislator's minds when they return.

In states across the country, it is known as

. Here in Nebraska, it is known as


Introduced by

, the bill aims to ban hair discrimination within the workplace.

"I don't even think I understood the magnitude of the problem until we as a legislature heard from those women that came and testified. It was impactful and moving," Cavanaugh said.

One of those women was Ashlei Spivey, the founder of

and an ACLU board member.

"So my hair was very short, very kinky curly. And I used to before that wear really long straight weaves that more resembled European-centric hairstyles. And when I did that I got taken off of the schedule," Spivey said. "My supervisor asked me when I was going to get my old hair back. And then eventually I was removed from the schedule, and I was let go. And the only reason would be is because of my hair."

She hopes more black women share their similar experiences to show legislators the importance of the bill. She created an online toolkit to help people get involved.

"Really pushing them to think about this protection especially in the wake of people wanting to do more around racial justice and some other things," Spivey said.

The bill made it through the first round of debate, and if passed,

would include hair textures and protective styling under the definition of race.

"I've had folks touch my hair. Asking me what does it feel like? Is it my hair? Again where we don't do that to other folks that have different hair types and textures. You're made to feel like you're an anomaly or you're at a zoo on exhibit," Spivey said.

She hopes by speaking out in support of LB-1060 that a message is sent to employers.

"We belong," Spivey said. "We can be our authentic selves and we can wear the hair that literally grows out of our head. And we are professional and everything in between."

The session will resume July 20.

Sen. Cavanaugh has made this her priority bill.

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