*NAACP officials say their recent travel advisory for Missouri, issued in June by the Missouri chapter and recently adopted by the national office, is the first time an NAACP conference has ever made one state the subject of a warning about discrimination and racist attacks, a rep said Tuesday.
The Show Me state was chosen for a number of reasons, including recent legislation making discrimination lawsuits harder to win, longtime racial disparities in traffic enforcement and a rash of incidents detrimental to minority residents and visitors, say Missouri NAACP leaders.
Specific incidents include racial slurs against black students at the University of Missouri and the death earlier this year of 28-year-old Tory Sanders, a black man from Tennessee who took a wrong turn while traveling and died in a southeast Missouri jail even though he hadn’t been accused of a crime.
Additionally, the Missouri travel advisory cites legislation signed by Gov. Eric Greitens that will make it more difficult to sue for housing or employment discrimination. Also noted was the most recent attorney general’s report showing black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely to be pulled over than whites.
Traditionally, travel advisories come from the U.S. State Department to warn citizens of current dangers in all corners of the world. The department this year has issued more than 40 advisories alerting travelers to political instability, violence and hurricanes in various countries.
Last week, national NAACP delegates voted to adopt the Missouri travel advisory, sending it to the national board for ratification in October.