SAALT, as a member of the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition, opposes WMATA’s new bag search policy. WMATA’s website states that the searches will be random and are merely an enhanced security measure, rather than a response to any heightened security threats.
The bag searches are ineffective and waste valuable resources that could be placed towards more effective public safety measures. Most importantly, it places South Asians at risk of being targets of racial and religious profiling.
Although WMATA alleges that the screenings are random, without proper oversight of the programs and transparency regarding its implementation, there is no way to ensure that profiling will not occur.
The Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition is organizing actions to oppose the random bag search policy. You can support these efforts by making public comments at meetings of WMATA’s Riders’ Advisory Council. Consult the Coalition’s Talking Points for guidance. The next meeting is on Wednesday, January 5, 2011 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the WMATA building at 600 5th St, NW (near the Judiciary Square Metro Station). You can also email comments to the Riders’ Advisory Council or use the WMATA online comment form.
To further show your support, please sign the Coalition’s petition in opposition to the new policy. Over 600 petitioners have already shown their support.