Empower Missouri: NAACP and allies decry 1st round approval of pro-discrimination bill; ask senators to reverse course

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo……….Representatives of NAACP, Empower Missouri, labor unions, and Missouri Faith Voices joined today to denounce first round approval of Senate Bill 43 by the Missouri Senate at around 3 a.m. after a period of extended debate on multiple days. “Senate Bill 43 flies in the face of our faith and traditional American values of equality and justice for all,” said Nimrod Chapel, Jr., president of NAACP in Missouri.  “Hard-working Missourians deserve to know that the state of Missouri has their back when they have been discriminated against.”

Chapel called for Missouri senators to reconsider the issue and to vote down Senate Bill 43 when the roll call vote is taken. “Do you want history to record that you voted for a giant step backwards in civil rights, after the decades of struggle that were needed to secure protections in housing, employment and public accommodation? Please say no to SB 43.”

Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri, joined Chapel in calling for senators stop the bill’s progress, but admitted that conventional wisdom says that the bill will advance to the House chamber. “We need people of good will throughout Missouri to join us in opposing this dangerous legislation. The rights you save may be your own.” Oxford offered to send notice to citizens who wish to testify at any scheduled House hearing if they will email [email protected].

Labor organization representatives attending the press conference pointed to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s support for striking workers and said that standing with NAACP against SB 43 is in alignment with the labor philosophy that “an injury to one is an injury to all.

Oxford offered thanks to all who voted for an amendment by Sen. Jill Schupp (D-St. Louis County) that was ultimately defeated that would have added sexual orientation and gender identity to current civil rights protections. Yes votes came from all Democrats and Republican senators Caleb Rowden of Columbia and Ryan Silvey of Kansas City. That thanks was also seconded by PROMO, Missouri’s statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organization.

Gratitude was especially extended by Oxford to Sen. Gina Walsh, minority floor leader, for her strong opposition to Senate Bill 43, and to the Democratic senators who led the long debate against the bill: Shalonn “Kiki” Curls (Kansas City), Jamilah Nasheed (St. Louis City), Scott Sifton (St. Louis), and Schupp. “We will not forget that these senators fought hard for the rights of their constituents,” Oxford said.

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