The NAACP issued a travel warning to the state of Missouri for women and people of color. Travelers are asked to use “extreme caution” because they could be subject to “discrimination and harassment” in the state. This is the first time a travel advisory has been issued to any of the states.
NAACP’s response comes to Missouri’s recent legislation on discrimination.
A statement by the NAACP about the travel warning says “The advisory means each individual should pay special attention while in the state of Missouri and certainly if contemplating spending time in Missouri.” Furthermore “Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION. Race, gender and color based crimes have a long history in Missouri. Missouri, home of Lloyd Gaines, Dredd Scott and the dubious distinction of the Missouri Compromise and one of the last states to loose its slaveholding past, may not be safe.”
“They’re legalizing discrimination in the state of Missouri,” says attorney Nimrod Chapel Jr., president of the state’s NAACP chapter. In reference to the segregation tactics of the South, Chapel Jr. described Republican Governor Eric Greitens’ recent legislation as “the Jim Crow bill”.
Greitens says the “motivating standard” is currently used by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He calls the legislation “common sense” reform.
“People need to be ready, whether it’s bringing bail money with them, or letting relatives know they are traveling through the state,” Chapel said.
Until now it was possible to file a discrimination claim in the state that involved discrimination against race, religion, and gender. The new legislation requires the victims to present proof that discrimination was the motivating factor for a defendant’s actions. Which, Chapel Jr. says, is extremely hard to do. The new legislation also bars employees from filing a discrimination suit against any individuals. Only the company itself can be sued.
“You would think that the best evidence would be, like, a memo. ‘We discriminated against so-and-so because of who they are.’ Nobody writes memos, or when they do it so rare, and then getting that kind of evidence can be very, very difficult,” Chapel Lr. says.
In 2015 alone, 100 hate crimes were reported in Missouri. A number of recent incidents have been highlighted in the NAACP statement.
Video via CBS News
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