For the first time, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a travel advisory for a state, warning minorities to be alert if they live in or travel to Missouri.
The decision to issue an advisory was made in reference to multiple instances of police brutality and other racialized acts perpetrated against people of color in the state in recent years.
The advisory was initiated inside the state by the local chapter of the NAACP in June, but was picked by the national organization more recently.
In addition to police brutality events like the one that triggered the Ferguson riots in 2014 (the murder of Mike Brown), Missouri has recently passed legislation which makes discrimination lawsuits harder to win.
In addition, the NAACP’s own data shows that black drivers are 75 percent more likely to be subject of a traffic stop than drivers of other races, a number that has continued to rise since the organization began recording the stats in 2000.
Rod Chapel, the President of the state’s NAACP branch, says that the state’s race relations are at an all-time low, and that POC’s are at risk by entering Missouri.
“How do you come to Missouri, run out of gas and find yourself dead in a jail cell when you haven’t broken any laws? 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 said. “We are hearing complaints at a rate we haven’t heard before.”
With race relations only seeming to worsen under the Trump administration, it seems clear that while Missouri is the first state to be subject to a travel advisory, they certainly will not be the last.