Witness Ramey says bill ensures ‘education system is on the right side of history’ (Springfield, IL) – Justice Informed CEO Xavier Ramey recently offered up recollections of his own experiences as to why he feels the passage of Senate Bill 817 is so critical.
“I want to share with you all about why this is so important,” Ramey said during the May 4 hearing. “It is part of ensuring that our education system is on the right side of history. I’m a CPS graduate from the West Side of Chicago and I grew up in the north Lawndale neighborhood and I remember being in school years ago in high school and being asked to comply with certain dress code regulations and how that affected me even later in life.”
Ramey said it wasn’t until he was 27 and employed at the University of Chicago in a senior administrative position that he recovered to the point of feeling he could carry himself in a way he felt truly fit who he is.
“We have inculcated into black and brown people at an early age they should fear how they represent themselves as it relates to their hair and they should respect the fears of others who may see their hair as something that may distract or diminish from their ability to really gain the fruit of their brilliance in the workforce or otherwise,” he said.
SB 817 would prevent schools from creating restrictions on hairstyles, including hairstyles historically associated with race, ethnicity, or hair texture.
Ramey stressed the impression he wants to leave would be much more lasting.
“I’m mostly here to say that though I work with corporate CEOs and nonprofit executive directors and philanthropic leaders all across the country, it is very clear to me that there is a way that is asking for infrastructure of equity to be built, not just the desire to be nice or inclusive,” he said. “To ensure that people not only don’t feel that there are others in our society, but they are actively included. It’s not about being nice, it’s about being affected in our world.”
Ramey said it’s important that people see discrimination for what it truly is.
Justice Informed is a social impact consulting firm.
Witness Ramey says bill ensures ‘education system is on the right side of history’