The California State Assembly’s Appropriations Committee has approved the proposed anti-caste discrimination legislation SB403 on August 16. SB403 was authored and presented by State Senator Aisha Wahab. The approved version will now be sent to vote soon in the state Assembly.
The California state Senate passed SB 403, the Bill to ban caste-based discrimination in the state, on Thursday. The Bill, approved by a vote of 34-1, provides individuals with legal options to address allegations of caste bias and discrimination in housing, employment, education, and other contexts.
Protests, petitions, and meetings with lawmakers did not stop the California Senate Judiciary Committee to vote ‘Yes’ to SB 403: Discrimination on the Basis of Caste, which passed the committee with a resounding 8-0 vote on April 25. SB 403 or State Bill 403 is a piece of legislation introduced to make the state free of caste-based discrimination. If signed into law, California will become the first state in America to make caste bias illegal by adding it as a protected category in the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
Jeevan Zutshi has been holding the IACF Unity Dinner for 22 years in order to build bridges with diverse groups. “I am still hopeful that we will flourish as a peaceful community as we understand each other better and not divide ourselves,” Zutshi told indica, soon after this year’s Unity Dinner on April 21.
On April 25, the California Senate Judicial Committee is scheduled to hear ‘Bill SB 403, Discrimination on the Basis of Caste’, an event that has gained global media attention as well as concern among the Hindu American community, with some civil rights groups claiming that the passing of the bill will target certain people and that it is not uniform.
California state has dropped its allegations of caste-based bias by two Indian-descent employees of IT giant Cisco but will continue the larger case against the company. California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing had filed this case in 2020 based on a complaint from an unidentified employee of the company making it the first case of caste-based discrimination reported in the US.