April 21, 2015
The Human Rights Task Force meets every 4th Thursday of the month at 1:30 pm.
Empower Missouri Headquarters
606 E. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO
Contact: Don Love
The Human Rights Task Force is committed to advocacy and education efforts that guarantee equal rights and equal opportunities for all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, health, ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, class, religion, or immigration status.
August Primary Ballot Amendments
MASW’s Board has already approved (by email and by historic precedent) opposing Amendments 1 (the deceptively named “Right to Farm”) and Amendment 7 (an almost 18% increase in sales and use tax for transportation). The Human Rights Task Force also took action on June 26 to bring forward Amendment 5 for a formal no position. Here are resources in preparation for our discussion.
Vehicle Stops Report
When police officers don’t have probable cause to search a car, who are they most likely to ask for consent for a search?
Data in the Missouri Vehicle Stops Report indicates that in many jurisdictions African-American drivers are more likely to be asked for consent than European-American drivers.
African-American drivers are also more likely to be stopped in the first place, but it’s difficult to prove bias in the stops, because, for instance, officers often can’t determine ethnicity before a stop. Consent searches can be, however, a clear indicator of bias.
Bigotry is rare among officers, but, just like the rest of us, they are still influenced by our history of racism – slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, and so on. Bias is most likely to be unconscious. We all need to recognize our biases before we can begin to control them.
Many officers are not aware African-American drivers are treated differently in traffic stops. Once aware, most of them would welcome help learning to do their jobs better. The Vehicle Stops Report is an important tool for proving bias does exist, so that we have a motivation to work together to fix the problem.
Below are MASW’s response to the Vehicle Stops Report (supporting many aspects of it but pointing out shortcomings and suggesting improvements), a set of spreadsheets which use the VSR data to point out more details about officer behavior in selected departments, and an explanation of the spreadsheets.
If you have questions or need the materials in another format, let me know.
Missouri Association for Social Welfare
Human Rights Task Force Co-Chair
573 875 7918 Columbia
573 230 6446 Cell
Marriage Equality Statement
Passed by the MASW Board of Directors
June 8, 2013
At MASW, we work to provide equality and justice for all Missourians and to dismantle systems of discrimination. We see marriage equality as an issue where same-sex couples face discrimination and a lack of equity and justice.
To explain our position, we look at marriage equality from a historical perspective. Until 1967, people of different races were not allowed to marry in the United States. Laws about who could marry were set by the states. That meant that an interracial couple might be married in one state but not have their marriage recognized in another state. It was only when the federal government intervened through the Supreme Court ruling in Loving v. Virginia that marriages between people of different races were acknowledged nationwide in 1967.
We find the laws against interracial marriage to be similar to the laws prohibiting gay, lesbian, and transgender people from having marriage equality today. Therefore, we wholeheartedly support the right of same-sex couples to marry.
The MASW Board of Directors endorsed this statement in March 2013 from the Missouri Immigrant and Refugee Advocates concerning Missouri Principles for Immigration Reform.
Goals for 2013
- Facilitate new collaborative efforts and enhance existing partnerships in order to create a more unified voice for equality in Missouri.
- Support legislation that would create a more equitable and just state.
- Carry out educational events, including but not limited to public forums that promote acceptance and understanding.
- Work for progress on immigrant rights, tolerance of those using English as a second language, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, equal employment opportunity and fair housing, state-wide standards for the use of TASERs, profiling by government agencies and private businesses, religious tolerance, universal design and the challenges faced by those “aging out” of foster care.
The Human Rights Task Force is looking for passionate members statewide to create change through activism and community education. The Task Force meets on the fourth Thursday of the month at 1:15 PM, 606 East Capitol Ave., Jefferson City, MO. For more information, please contact Don Love or Carol Zablocki.