Seattle becomes the first United States city to forbid caste discrimination after its local council passed a resolution, moved by an Indian-American politician and economist, to add caste to its non-discrimination policy.
The resolution passed by Kshama Sawant was approved by the Seattle City Council by six to one vote.
The results of the vote could have far-reaching implications on the issue of caste discrimination in the US. “It’s official: our movement has won a historic, first-in-the-nation ban on caste discrimination in Seattle! Now we need to build a movement to spread this victory around the country,” Sawant, a city council member, said soon after the resolution was voted.
Ahead of the vote, Pramila Jayapal, Indian-American Congresswoman lent her support to the move. She said “Caste discrimination has no place in society anywhere in the world, including here in America. That is why some colleges and universities have banned it on campuses, and workers are fighting for their rights and their dignity in cases involving caste discrimination.”
Equality Labs, the brain behind the anti-caste discrimination resolution in Seattle and which has been spearheading a nationwide campaign said: Love has won over hate as Seattle has become the first in the nation to ban caste discrimination.
“We have braved rape threats, death threats, disinformation, and bigotry. It has created a coalition of some 200 organisations in support of its efforts over the issue. Central to this coalition is a network of more than 30 anti-caste Ambedkarite organisations,” Equality Labs said.
Among them are the Ambedkar King Study Circle, Ambedkar International Center, Ambedkarite Buddhist Association of Texas and Boston Study Group.