Target: Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Governor
Goal: Ensure that wearing hoodies in public remains legal
Wearing hooded sweatshirts in public may soon be illegal in Oklahoma. This new bill clearly targets certain populations, mainly young men of color, and only encourages inequality in how law enforcement treats people of different ethnicities. Please join us in calling on Oklahoma’s governor to demand that this bill be stopped due to its discriminatory nature.
If passed, the bill would make it a misdemeanor to ‘wear a mask, hood or covering’ while committing a crime or with the intention of concealing one’s identity. Offenders could be fined up to $500 and spend up to one year in jail. The bill includes exceptions for people who cover their head for religious reasons and for people dressing up on Halloween and other occasions. The initiators of the bill claim that its purpose is to deter crime, but it is clear that it could serve as a pretext to harass and stop young men of color, worsening the current problem of racial profiling.
Sunny Hostin, a CNN legal analyst, criticized a similar ban in a mall in Indiana, saying “This is about the pretext of being able to stop young African-American males. Hoodie is code word for ‘thug’ in many places and I think businesses shouldn’t be in the business of telling people what to wear. The Fourteenth Amendment protects us from this.” Giving law enforcement one more reason to target young men of color is not going to solve crime, and is only going to worsen the existing tensions between people of color and law enforcement officials. Please join us in taking a stand against this bill and racial profiling.
Dear Governor Fallin,
A new bill is about to be introduced in Oklahoma outlawing wearing hooded sweatshirts. If passed, this law will clearly target certain groups, mainly young men of color, and will allow discrimination and targeting based on ethnicity and culture. The issue of racial profiling and police’s attitude towards young men of color has been getting a lot of negative public attention lately, and this bill could change Oklahoma for the worse.
Although this bill is meant to fight crime, it could also provide law enforcement with more reasons to harass and stop people of color, since hooded sweatshirts are more common in those communities. People should be able to dress however they choose and not be criminalized for it. Please take a stand against racial profiling and targeting. Work to stop this bill from passing and protect the right of all the people in your state to not be targeted because of their race.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cami Valderrama via Flickr