NAACP Missouri travel advisory receives mixed reactions

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - By now, you may have heard about the travel advisory issued by the NAACP about traveling to Missouri.

National delegates voted at the end of July to adopt a travel advisory that urges caution in Missouri over concerns about whether civil rights will be respected.

The advisory cites recent legislation that will make it harder for people to sue for the workplace or housing discrimination. Leaders with the Missouri chapter of the NAACP said the measure could make it tougher to hold people accountable for harassment and discrimination.

On August 3, the St. Louis County NAACP released a statement regarding the advisory. It said, in part:

"The people hurt by the travel advisory are the members of our NAACP community who work across our state in hospitality industry jobs and who have played no role in this legislation.

According to Yvonne Johnson of Cape Girardeau, the travel warning is welcomed.

Johnson was active in the local chapter of the NAACP for more than 20 years.

"I think it's much needed," said Johnson. "With the discrimination that African Americans are receiving at this point in time."

According to the NAACP, a report that shows black drivers in Missouri were 75 percent more likely to be stopped than white drivers in 2016 also played a role in the travel advisory.

Cape Girardeau Police Department Sergeant Rick Schmidt said his department does not discriminate or pull over people due to their race, but said the advisory is concerning.

"It causes concern, it causes us to reflect on how the police department and how the state of Missouri for that matter doing when a reputable group issues a travel advisory," said Schmidt.

Cape Chamber President John Mehner said the advisory could potentially impact tourism, not just here, but across the entire state.

"We will continue to promote the area, we will continue to work hard to bring tournaments here, conferences here, tourism here and continue to do what we do as a city which is welcome the people that do come here."

Meantime, Johnson has a message for everyone.

"It doesn't matter what color we are, you know all of our blood is red and we're all human and we should love one another."

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