Colorado Black Legislative Caucus 2020

Members of the Colorado Black Legislative Caucus are, top row left to right, Rep. Leslie Herod, chair, Sen. Rhonda Fields, vice-chair, Rep. Janet Buckner and Rep. James Coleman; second row from left,Rep. Tony Exum Sr., Rep. Dominique Jackson, Rep. Jovan Melton and Sen. Angela Williams.

The Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus will hold its annual reception and preview the legislation its members have pending before the General Assembly during the current session Monday evening in Five Points.

Gov. Jared Polis and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Boulder, the state's first black member of Congress, will make opening remarks.

The event is at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library at 2401 Welton St.

The Black Caucus is made up of:

  • Rep. Leslie Herod, chair, of Denver.
  • Sen. Rhonda Fields, vice-chair, of Aurora.
  • Rep. Janet Buckner of Aurora.
  • Rep. James Coleman of Denver.
  • Rep. Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs.
  • Rep. Dominique Jackson of Denver.
  • Rep. Jovan Melton of Denver.
  • Sen. Angela Williams of Denver.

Herod spoke Friday about the role black legislators play in shaping public policy. She referred to House Bill 1048, called the Crown Act, that she, Fields and Buckner are sponsoring. The bill would ensure that "race trait hairstyles" are protected by the anti-discrimination code.

"For far, far too long, discrimination based on hairstyle has been a commonplace facet of professional life for black women and countless other groups," Herod said in a text. "It is about time we did away with antiquated and, frankly, racist notions of what a 'professional' hairstyle looks like. The Crown Act will bring this change once and for all.

"As someone who, like the majority of black women in America, has faced this discrimination before, I’m proud to be sponsoring the bill and ensuring it moves forward."

The bill will be heard in its first committee next Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. before the House Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

"As the chair of the Colorado Black Democratic Legislative Caucus, I am proud to bring forward this import bill with the members of the Black Caucus," Herod added. "Together, we will hold an important and first of its kind, community hearing, to hear the stories of real people impacted by this form of discrimination."

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