St. Louis tourism industry asks NAACP to level the playing field or rescind travel advisory
ST. LOUIS – Fallout from the NAACP’s recent advisory for minorities traveling to Missouri continues. On Thursday, the local convention and visitors bureau, Explore St. Louis, sent a letter to partners questioning the fairness of the advisory and urging the NAACP to rescind it.
“We are puzzled as to why a travel advisory would just be issued for the state of Missouri when 38 other states and the federal government use the same standards,” said Explore St. Louis President, Kitty Ratcliffe.
The standards Ratcliffe are referring to are detailed in Senate Bill 43; the piece of legislation recently signed by Governor Eric Greitens which changes the standards that must be met in order to sue for workplace discrimination.
“And yet they are discriminating against Missouri for something that 38 other states and the federal government do,” said Ratcliffe. “We would just ask to be treated fairly.”
“I don’t tell her how to run conventions, I don’t need her to tell us how to fight for civil right,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP.
Pruitt says while Senate Bill 43 was a factor, there were many others that went into the NAACP issuing the travel advisory.
“It talked about the disparities in stops, it talked about somebody traveling through the state got stopped and wound up arrested and dead, it talked about a number of different things” Pruitt said. “What it said was there is a totality of things going on in the state that has raised some concerns.”
Amid those concerns, Pruitt says the organization isn’t telling minorities to stay away from Missouri, just to be aware of things that have impacted minorities. Pruitt is hopeful other leaders don’t challenge the advisory, but challenge the conditions that led to it.
“I hope that it would reinforce to all the folks in the state who have the ability to address the issues raised in the advisory to sit down and lets roll up our sleeves and work through this matter,” he said.