In recent years, racial profiling has only become worse in Missouri.
 
In 2017, African-American drivers were stopped by police at a rate 85 percent higher than whites, up from 64 percent in 2012.
 
On average, African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be searched than whites, despite being less likely to have contraband. These statistics haven’t been enough for lawmakers to make racial profiling a priority in Missouri. We must show lawmakers how bias shapes our state.
 
Jason Wilson—a father, husband, businessman and St. Louis native—shared his story of racial profiling. Despite an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, an MBA and all his efforts to strengthen the community and improve St. Louis’ economy, he says that people still first judge him by the color of his skin.
 
“When I started driving at 16, I was often stopped in my parents’ car,” said Wilson. “I was often pulled-over, made to sit on the curbs on my handcuffs, while they were interrogating me in search for whatever it was—drugs, guns, whatever.”
 
Jason’s experience was often justified by police officers saying that the car fit the description, in that area, while they were doing routine checks. Not much has changed for him since then. That’s why we must demand change from our lawmakers and action from the community.
 
We must end racial profiling. That’s why we support HB 484, a bill known as the Fourth Amendment Affirmation Act. If passed, it will update the state’s racial profiling laws.
 
Elected officials need to hear stories like Jason’s—and yours—to make this legislation a priority. Tell us about your experiences. We’ll share them with lawmakers and changemakers.
 
 
Racism in policing is one measure of racial disparities, but throughout Missouri, there are gaps between blacks and whites in healthcare, housing, education and wealth. But it’s not just Jason who is affected by this. It’s also other business owners and entrepreneurs. It’s young, black men getting stopped while walking down the street. It’s your neighbors and your friends. It’s also you.
 
No degree, level of prosperity, or quality of coffee can stop the impact of racial profiling.
 
Justice is past due.

 

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