The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) never issued a travel advisory until the recent signing of a racist bill in Missouri.
Senate Bill 43, which has been condemned by the NAACP as a “Jim Crow bill,” was signed into law by Republican Governor Eric Greitens in June, is slated to go into effect on August 28. The bill is designed to make it harder for victims of discrimination to prove that they were discriminated against based on their protected status, like race, gender, nationality, sexuality, and other criteria. The Missouri state chapter of the NAACP’s travel advisory was issued earlier this year, but recently approved by the national NAACP conference, making it the organization’s first-ever statewide travel advisory, according to CNN.
“The advisory means each individual should pay special attention while in the state of Missouri and certainly if contemplating spending time in Missouri,” the local NAACP wrote, before listing out multiple recent examples of racial hatred African Americans and other disenfranchised groups have experienced in Missouri.
“Tory Sanford who recently died in a jail cell but was never arrested after running out of gas when he traveled into the state accidently[sic]; Racist attacks on University of Missouri students while on the states’ campuses – as the University of Missouri System spoke in favor of Romine’s Jim Crow Bill; Missouri’s legislature Representative Rick Bratton argued that homosexuals are not human beings according to his faith; Black high school students in St. Louis have been attacked with hot glue while denigrated racially.”
The NAACP also cited a 2016 study by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, which simultaneously found that black drivers were 75 percent more likely to be subjected to traffic stops by police on highways, but actually less likely to be carrying contraband or be arrested in comparison to white drivers.
“These stops have resulted in increased traffic fines, senseless searches of vehicle and persons, and on occasion unnecessary violence,” the MO NAACP wrote in their release.
“[W]arn your families, co-workers and anyone visiting Missouri to beware of the safety concerns with travel in Missouri, notify members of your trade associations, social and civic organizations that they are traveling and living in Missouri at their own risk and subject to unnecessary search seizure and potential arrest,” the organization continued. “[F]ile and seek help on any existing claims for discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and whistle blowing ASAP before your legal rights are lost.”
Michael Boone is a freelance journalist and columnist writing about politics, government, race, and media. He graduated from Texas Southern University’s School of Communication, and lives in Houston’s Third Ward.