NAACP Issues Travel Advisory for American Airlines
The U.S.'s oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, is warning black flyers to exercise caution when flying American Airlines after a string of "disturbing incidents."
The NAACP described "a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines."
The airline's CEO said Wednesday that he was disappointed by the announcement and that company wants to discuss the matter with the civil rights group.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson told the Associated Press the group is not calling for a boycott of American Airlines, but after looking at the number of incidents, they felt as though they needed to issue a warning to African-Americans.
In its statement, the group noted four recent incidents that "suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines."
In one, the statement said, "An African-American man was required to relinquish his purchased seats aboard a flight from Washington, D.C., to Raleigh-Durham, merely because he responded to disrespectful and discriminatory comments directed toward him by two unruly white passengers." The man in question is the head of the North Carolina NAACP, the Rev. William Barber.
In another, a black woman with first-class tickets was switched to coach while her white companion remained in first class. Two other incidents involved black women removed from flights after making routine complaints or requests, including asking for "her stroller be retrieved from checked baggage before she would disembark."
"Historically, the NAACP has issued travel advisories when conditions on the ground pose a substantial risk of harm to black Americans, and we are concerned today that the examples cited herein may represent only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ when it comes to American Airlines’ documented mistreatment of African-American customers,” the statement said.
In a memo to employees, CEO Doug Parker said American endorses the NAACP's mission statement against racial discrimination.
"We do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind,”Parker wrote. "We have reached out to the NAACP and are eager to meet with them to listen to their issues and concerns.”
Kenyans Vote in Second Presidential Election of 2017
Kenyans are casting their ballots in the repeat of the East African nation's presidential election, despite calls from the opposition leader to boycott Thursday's repeat vote.
The country's Supreme Court invalidated the results of the August 8 election because of what it called "irregularities and illegalities" by Kenya's electoral commission, known by its acronym IEBC.
But the re-vote itself has been thrown into chaos. Opposition leader Raila Odinga withdrew his candidacy two weeks ago, arguing that the IEBC had not made improvements. A week later, electoral commission member Roselyn Akombe resigned and fled the country, saying the embattled commission is "under siege" from infighting and political intimidation.
Odinga issued a statement on the eve of the election calling for a "resistance movement" against the vote.
The high court was set to hear a petition Wednesday filed by three registered voters to stop the re-vote, but the hearing was called off after Chief Justice David Maraga said the court lacked a quorum to do so.