The oldest civil rights organisation in the United States is advising women, people of colour, LGBTQ folks, and other minorities against travelling to the state of Missouri in response to an uptick in racist attacks and the introduction of discriminatory legislation.
The Missouri chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (better known as the NAACP) initially issued the advisory in June after Senate Bill 43, which the organisation calls the "Jim Crow Bill," was passed. The legislation, signed into law by Gov. Eric Greitens, made it almost impossible for discrimination lawsuits filed by terminated employees to succeed in court.
National NAACP delegates said in late July they support the travel advisory, cautioning individuals that they could face discrimination or racism if they travel to the state.
The advisory lists a series of incidents involving women, people of colour, and LGBTQ folks. Among them, the death of a Tory Sanders, a Black man with a history of depression who was taken to a county jail after he made a wrong turn; a string of racist incidents at the University of Missouri; and recent anti-LGBTQ comments by a state representative who said "there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being." It also cites a recent report by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office which says Black drivers are about 75% more likely to be stopped by the police than their white counterparts.
The warning encourages people to relay the information on their family, friends, and coworkers. It reads, "Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION. Race, gender, and colour based crimes have a long history in Missouri."
The advisory will tentatively remain in place until 28th August, when the "Jim Crow Bill" goes into effect. Because the delegates support the implementation of the travel warning, it was sent to the national NAACP board to be potentially ratified during their October meeting.
Refinery29 reached out to the Missouri NAACP and will update the story if we hear back.