SASAC Supports Seattle's Proposed Ordinance to ban caste discrimination

Statement of Support for Seattle's Anti-caste Discrimination Ordinance

February 14, 2023

By the South Asia Scholar Activist Collective (SASAC)

The South Asia Scholar Activist Collective (SASAC), an organization of scholars advocating for inclusive politics and academic freedom in teaching and scholarship on South Asia, strongly supports the draft ordinance put forward by Kshama Sawant for consideration by the Seattle, WA city council that seeks to add caste to the city’s anti-discrimination policy. In doing so, the city council would take an important step taken by universities such as the California State University System, Brown University, Brandeis University, and Colby College to offer protections against caste-based discrimination in education, employment, and access to public services provided by the city of Seattle. This ordinance would offer the first city-based protections against caste discrimination in the US and offer a model for such legislation at the state and federal levels, offering equity of access and redress for harm for those marginalized by caste position.


As scholars of South Asia, we would like to make 4 main points to show why this legislation is needed, is not discriminatory against any ethnic or religious group, and why it is an important civil rights issue in the US, particularly within educational contexts: