For First Time, NAACP Advises Against Travel to a State

Beware of civil rights violations in Missouri, organization warns
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2017 12:24 PM CDT
In this May 23, 2017, file photo, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens speaks to supporters during a rally outside the state Capitol in Jefferson City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

(Newser) – The NAACP has issued a travel advisory for a US state, a first in the civil rights group's history. The Missouri NAACP first circulated the advisory against travel to the state in June, and the national organization has now voted to adopt it, McClatchy reports. The advisory comes after racist incidents including racial slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and painted on a barbershop's windows, as well as the death of Tory Sanders, a Tennessee man who ended up in Missouri when he made a wrong turn on a road trip, ran out of gas, and ultimately ended up dying in a jail cell in the state. There have also been other incidents of harm to and discrimination against minorities in the state, plus racial disparities in traffic enforcements. But the final straw was legislation passed in Missouri recently that makes it harder to sue for housing or employment discrimination.

That law takes effect Aug. 28, and NAACP leaders are urging people to file discrimination complaints before then. Especially disturbing to Rod Chapel, president of the Missouri NAACP, is that the University of Missouri system supported an earlier version of the legislation—which, in an interview with CBS News, he calls "the Jim Crow bill." It requires alleged victims of discrimination to prove discrimination was a "motivating," rather than just a "contributing" factor. Plus, "you have violations of civil rights that are happening to people. They're being pulled over because of their skin color, they're being beaten up or killed," Chapel tells McClatchy. "We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven't heard before." Other issues include 100 hate crimes reported in 2015 and an attorney general's report that shows black drivers in the state are 75% more likely to be pulled over than white drivers. (Read more NAACP stories.)

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