California Senate committee passes bill to end caste discrimination

California State Legislature. [Photo: Wikimedia]

A bill seeking to explicitly ban caste discrimination in California has been unanimously passed by the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, PTI reported.

The California Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday unanimously voted ‘Yes’ to move the anti-caste discrimination bill forward to the Senate. This is for the first time that a US State legislature would consider legislation on caste.

If passed, the bill could make America’s most populous state also the country’s first to make caste bias illegal by adding it as a protected category in the state’s anti-discrimination laws.

Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Equality Labs and author of ‘The Trauma of Caste’, said, “Today, I proudly stand in solidarity with my caste-oppressed community members, caste equity movement organisers, and allies to say that caste-oppressed Californians are now one step closer to attaining the protections they deserve and are entitled to.”

Earlier at a news conference, she said the bill was a result of 15 years of hard-won organising in the state by caste-oppressed people.

“The need for this bill is urgent. We have then some of the highest rates of discrimination of any Asian American community in the state. That is why we are here to stand in our truth to organise for our freedom,” she had said.

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