San Francisco passes “CAREN Act”, making racially biased 911 calls illegal

San Francisco passes “CAREN Act”, making racially biased 911 calls illegal. 

  • The Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act or “CAREN Act” was introduced in July.
  • On Tuesday, the San Francisco board of supervisors unanimously passed the act. 
  • Since the act was passed, it has faced opposition as a result of its name.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the “CAREN act”.

The CAREN Act (Caution Against Racially Exploitative Non-Emergencies Act) will make racially biased 911 calls illegal. Supervisor Shamann Walton first introduced the act in July and on Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously passed the act. According to CNN, “next week, the bill has to be voted on again by the board, and then it will be sent to Mayor London Breed to sign.”

Supervisor Shamann Walton commented on the act: 

Black and Indigenous people of color have the right to go about daily activities without being threatened by someone calling 911 on them due to racial bias. We don’t want what happened to Emmett Till in 1955 ― or the long history of false accusations of Black men and boys in this country, due to weaponizing law enforcement to threaten, terrorize and sometimes even kill them ― to ever happen again.

As a result of its name, the act has faced opposition.

The name is seen as a twist on “Karen”, the name social media users have given white, middle-aged women who use their privilege to attack people of color. CNN reports that residents have written letters to the board, asking them to change the name. One person reportedly wrote, “The name of the act places a target on my name as a racist and I am not. By associating the name ‘Caren’ or anyone elses name with such a law, really is offensive.”

This act is a step closer to putting an end to racial discrimination. Hopefully, other communities, states, and countries will look to San Francisco when shaping anti-discrimination laws. 

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