Statement on Anti-Caste Discrimination Legislation Introduced in Seattle
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), a Washington DC-based nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice, peace, and pluralism, today commended the introduction of legislation in the Seattle City Council to ban caste discrimination.
Introduced by Councilmember Kshama Sawant (District 3, Central Seattle), the legislation, if passed, will prohibit, “businesses from discriminating based on caste with respect to hiring, tenure, promotion, workplace conditions, or wages.”
The proposed legislation will also ban discrimination based on caste in places of public accommodation, such as hotels, public transportation, public restrooms, or retail establishments. It will also prohibit housing discrimination based on caste in rental housing leases, property sales, and mortgage loans.
“Caste discrimination is a pervasive and systemic issue that has a devastating impact on individuals and communities. It is unacceptable that in this day and age, people are still facing discrimination based on caste,” IAMC President Syed Ali said.
“Caste is a crime against humanity, it’s a blot on our society, and it’s a shame that it is practiced in the 21st century in Seattle,” said Hasan Khan, IAMC board member from Seattle who testified on the issue before the Seattle City Council.
“This proposed legislation sends a clear message that such discrimination will not be tolerated in Seattle and that the city is committed to promoting equality and justice for all its residents,” Khan added.
“We stand as allies with the Dalit community, which has tirelessly worked to raise awareness on the issue of caste discrimination here in the United States, as well as to protect the people who battle this pervasive form of oppression on a daily basis,” said Javed Sikander, who also represented IAMC’s Seattle chapter before the City Council. “We urge the Seattle City Council to act swiftly to pass this important legislation and take a stand against caste discrimination.”