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California Governor Gavin Newsom Signs Bills Into Law Prioritizing Black Women

It’s clear that black women are a priority to Governor of California Gavin Newsom. This past summer, he signed a law that allows students and employees who’ve experienced discrimination for ethnic hairstyles to file a lawsuit. The governor said this law was long overdue and referred to an incident this year where a 16-year-old black student-athlete being forced to cut off his dreadlocks after a wrestling match.

State senator Holly Mitchell of Los Angeles co-sponsored the bill and said black students and employees “should not have to meet someone else’s comfort level or meet someone else’s perception of what’s professional in the workplace because all of us up here are quite professional every day.”

Governor Newsom recently signed another law co-sponsored by Mitchell that addresses the lack of care for black women leading to high maternal mortality rates. The law requires hospitals and clinics to implement bias training for all healthcare providers in perinatal services. The law will also require the health department to record and publish pregnancy-related deaths to help better understand maternal mortality.

The Realist Woman’s take:

You can’t talk about these laws without talking about state senator Holly Mitchell. Mitchell co-authored these bills which are now law and it goes to show how important it is for black women to have a seat in the political arena. It’s one thing for me to publish a story about the maternal mortality rates for black women but it’s another thing to be in a position of power, with access to the Governor to create change. She has impacted the lives of every black woman in California and has inspired black women across the nation.

Black students and employees have been bullied and discriminated against for our hair for far too long and the black maternal mortality rate for women is shamefully three times higher than that of white women. I'm happy to have had these issues on the forefront of the Governor's agenda.