NAACP Travel Ban For St. Louis Expands To Include Lambert Airport

The issue: No outlet for minority workers to file discrimination complaints.

Brett Blume
November 13, 2018 - 1:28 pm

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

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ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - The NAACP made national headlines a year ago when it issued a first-ever "travel advisory" for African-American visitors.

Now, the president of the St. Louis city chapter, Adolphus Pruitt, is expanding that advisory to include St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

"The most fundamental rights in our Constitution, from our nation's founding all the way to today, are civil rights," Pruitt told reporters during a Tuesday morning press conference at his organization's headquarters. "These are the most basic, most cherished, most fundamental rights in our democracy."

According to Pruitt, under city ordinance No. 67119, "no one shall be subejcted to discrimination under any program or activity receiving funding or other financial assistance or relief directly or indirectly from the city of St. Louis."

That particular ordinance is supposed to be enforced by the city's Civil Rights Enforcement Agency, but Pruitt pointed out that doesn't appear to be the case.

"The Civil Rights Enforcement Agency informed us that it has no jurisdiction whatsoever to enforce civil rights at Lambert Airport," he said.

File photo of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, taken March 2017.
(Brett Blume/KMOX)

He added that leaves airport employees with discrimination complaints nowhere to turn.

Newly appointed St. Louis County NAACP president John Gaskin III was on hand for the announcement, and asked Pruitt if that meant the city chapter was telling minorities to avoid coming to St. Louis altogether.

"Of course not," Pruitt responded. "The advisory's simply to inform people about the conditions that exist as relates to the civil rights or other discriminatory practices, or issues, that are impacting African Americans."

Issued about a year ago and originally only supposed to last about a month, the NAACP's travel advisory telling minorities that they're coming to St. Louis at their own risk was extended and is still in effect.

Following the NAACP press conference, the city of St. Louis released a statement:

“The City takes any allegation of discrimination seriously. We expect any contractor, vendor or other entity doing business with the City to act lawfully. At the present time, we are not aware of any outstanding complaints made by any employee of Southwest Airlines.”