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Project 21 Members Say Stunt "Only Serves to Racially Fracture Our National Psyche"
- 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."
St. Louis NAACP Follows Project 21's Lead Opposing Missouri "Travel Advisory" Pushed by National, State Groups.
Local Project 21 Members Commend NAACP Affiliate for Standing Up to "Bad Policy" Potentially Hurtful to Missouri Residents and Businesses.
Local members of the Project 21 black leadership network are commending the St. Louis County NAACP for coming out against a "travel advisory" that was issued toward the state of Missouri by the group's state chapter and recognized by its national leadership. Hours after Project 21 criticized the advisory that suggested minority travelers in the Show Me State were at risk of "looming danger," the county affiliate issued a statement calling on the NAACP to "rescind their advisory immediately."
The NAACP's 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." It specifically cites a new law bringing Missouri anti-discrimination protections into alignment with laws in 38 other states. The advisory also alleges law enforcement overreach.
In yesterday's statement, the St. Louis County NAACP cited the potential ill effects of the advisory on the state's hospitality industry. While opposing the new law, Ester Haywood, the chapter's president, said, "[w]e suggest that if the NAACP does not rescind their advisory immediately, then they should add it to the other 38 states" with similar provisions.
Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington and Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who both live near St. Louis and took issue with the NAACP advisory, are praising the group's St. Louis chapter for being a voice of reason and dissent. Washington and Arps considered the travel advisory an ill-considered publicity stunt that ignored pressing community issues such as the high murder rate in St. Louis.
"The St. Louis NAACP is wise to take a stand on behalf of all people in the great state of Missouri. We at Project 21 agree that discouraging travel will negatively impact the Show Me State's business environment," said Washington, a syndicated talk radio host on the American Family Radio and Urban Family Talk networks and U.S. Air Force veteran. "We look forward to new NAACP initiatives in the areas of public safety, job creation and educational freedom. Let's come together to achieve better things for our communities."
"I applaud the St. Louis County NAACP for recommending a revocation of the state NAACP's ill-advised Missouri 'travel advisory,'" said Arps, a principal with Red Tail Strategies and co-founder of the Move-On-Up.org black social network. "Issuing advisories like this that could negatively impact our state's hospitality industry to protest unrelated legislation with which they disagree is bad policy that only ends up hurting the very people they want to represent."
To book an interview with a member of Project 21 about this or other nonpartisan issues affecting black America, contact Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476.
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