Washington, DC – The NAACP recently issued a “travel advisory” for the state of Missouri that suggests a “looming danger” exists there. Members of the Project 21 black leadership network who live in Missouri see this as an unproductive publicity stunt ignoring the real problems affecting black residents in the Show Me State – particularly in the city of St. Louis.
Originating with the Missouri NAACP State Conference and recognized at the NAACP’s annual convention in late July, the advisory states, in part: “Individuals traveling in the state are advised to travel with extreme CAUTION. Race, gender and color based [sic] crimes have a long history in Missouri.” The advisory specifically cites a recently-enacted law modifying state anti-discrimination protections to be enforced when a protected minority’s status is a motivating factor rather than just a contributing factor. The advisory alleges law enforcement overreach but does not mention the high St. Louis homicide rate.
Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington and Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who both live near St. Louis, take issue with the NAACP’s advisory. They say it ignores real issues such as the murder epidemic in St. Louis to focus on political issues and headline-grabbing allegations.
“Quick! Someone alert all the blacks and other minorities already living in Missouri that it isn’t safe for others to come here. Does that make any sense? No. Neither does the latest statement from the NAACP,” said Washington, a syndicated talk radio host on the American Family Radio and Urban Family Talk networks and U.S. Air Force veteran. “In yet another exercise in futility, the NAACP proves its allegiance to anything but what might actually help black Americans. Their ‘first-ever travel advisory’ against Missouri is laughable. This is not the Jim Crow era. Missourians enjoy full and unfettered access to the Second Amendment and a lovely quality of life. Blacks do have concerns – namely, the high murder rate. St. Louis enjoys the distinction of being first on the list of major American cities for per capita murders. This should trouble the NAACP because the majority of these killings are black-on-black crimes. Thus the NAACP’s stunt means very little to black families living in crime-ridden neighborhoods trying to make ends meet. It means even less to any clear-thinking individuals who realize it only serves to racially fracture our national psyche. The NAACP can and should do better than this.”
“Crime is so rampant in St. Louis that not only have we been named America’s most dangerous city, but it’s so bad that Governor Eric Greitens recently dispatched state troopers to help supplement the local police,” said Arps, a principal with Red Tail Strategies and co-founder of the Move-On-Up.org black social network. “If the NAACP is going to start issuing politically-motivated travel advisories for St. Louis, it should first start in the crime-ridden communities it has abandoned yet claims to represent.”