Describing it as the biggest breakthrough for the global fight against caste oppression in many decades, Kshama Sawant, the socialist said it has opened the floodgates for potentially winning such a ban on caste discrimination in other cities and states in the US as well.
The much-talked-about caste-based discrimination law came into effect in the US city of Seattle, giving it the distinction of being the first city outside India to enforce such legislation. The resolution was moved last month by Kshama Sawant, an Indian-American politician, and economist.
Sawant was born in Pune in 1973 and grew up in Mumbai, where she studied computer science and graduated with a BS from the University of Mumbai in 1994. Sawant married her husband Vivek, an engineer at Microsoft, and moved to the US. A new beginning awaited Sawant, as she decided to pursue economics. She entered the economics program at North Carolina State University where she earned a PhD.
Seattle’s law now prohibits businesses from discriminating based on caste with respect to hiring, tenure, promotion, workplace conditions, or wages. It will ban discrimination based on caste in places of public accommodation, such as hotels, public transportation, public restrooms, or retail establishments, adding that the law also prohibits housing discrimination based on caste in rental housing leases, property sales, and mortgage loans, Sawant said.
Describing it as the biggest breakthrough for the global fight against caste oppression in many decades, Sawant said it has opened the floodgates for potentially winning such a ban on caste discrimination in other cities and states in the US as well.
California State Senator Aisha Wahab, the first Muslim and Afghan American elected to the state legislature, also introduced the bill seeking to explicitly ban caste discrimination.
Indian Americans are the second-largest immigrant group in the US.