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#LaughingWhileBlack’s Lisa Johnson testifies before Assembly Committee endorsing the Stop Racial Profiling Act
By Sentinel News Service
Published April 27, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 3.00.26 PM

Assembly Bill 2707 (Stop Consumer Racial Profiling Act of 2016) passed out of the California State Assembly’s committee on Privacy & Consumer Protection on a unanimous 11-0 vote. This measure would prohibit profiling or targeting of a person that results in differential treatment based on his or her race or ethnicity and that constitutes a denial or degradation in the product or service offered to customers.

“…My mother would be subject to this unfortunate practice in the retail environment” said Assembly Member Ridley-Thomas in his committee testimony. “This Legislature can actually do something to correct this pernicious habit, to make sure that [businesses] raise their IQ and treat their consumers with dignity and respect.”

Lisa Johnson, one of eleven women who was kicked off of a Napa Valley Wine Train last August for #LaughingWhileBlack, described the experience of being paraded through six cars with all of the passengers looking at her as “…one of the most humiliating experiences of my adult life.” Ms. Johnson also added that she “supported 100%” anything “…that we can to protect others from experiencing [this].”

Across California there have been numerous reports of consumer racial profiling, including targeting and regarding ethnic minority consumers as potential criminals, unworthy of service, and being unable to afford high-end merchandise available for purchase. Lisa Johnson was reportedly kicked off of a Napa Valley Wine Train when her book club, of 10 other women (nine of them black), was told they were laughing too loud.

The Stop Racial Profiling Act will be considered by the full California State Assembly in the coming weeks.

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