NAACP Releases Travel Advisory For Florida, Citing Hostility Towards Black Americans

On Saturday, the NAACP issued an official travel advisory for Florida in reaction to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”

The civil rights organization is the latest to warn visitors against visiting Florida; previously, the League of United Latin American Citizens and LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida issued travel warnings.

“Under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals upon which our union was founded,” stated NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson.

“He should understand that democracy will triumph because its defenders are willing to stand up and fight.” We’re not backing down, and we want our allies to join us in the fight for our country’s soul.”

The warning comes just a few days before DeSantis launches his presidential campaign.

“As Governor DeSantis announced last week, Florida is seeing record-breaking tourism,” DeSantis’ press secretary said in a statement on Monday, dismissing the NAACP advisory as “nothing more than a stunt.”

NAACP Releases Travel Advisory For Florida, Citing Hostility Towards Black Americans

Johnson addressed the group’s decision in an interview. “We started looking at the pattern and the comments, as well as the public policy that Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislature started to enact.”

And we know that it is a direct attack not only on the African American community but also on the Latino community, women, and the LGBTQIA community, which is an issue,” he continued.

“He’s using his governorship to promote ‘others,’ or racial hatred and division,” Johnson added. “That should not be happening.

And, as he prepares to run for president, America must recognize that we cannot stand as a nation with another guy holding the White House with this type of belief system.”

In January, the DeSantis administration stopped implementing an Advanced Placement course for high school students focusing on African American studies. DeSantis supported legislation prohibiting the teaching of “critical race theory” in public schools.

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“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals,” The NAACP travel warning.

“Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, as well as the challenges faced by, African Americans and other communities of color.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the travel advice “bizarre” and “utterly dishonest” in a tweet on Sunday.

“The NAACP did extraordinary good in the 1950s and 1960s, helping lead the civil rights movement,” the senator tweeted. “Today, Dr. King would be ashamed at how profoundly they’ve lost their way.”

The youngest daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Bernice King, responded to Cruz.

“What my father would be deeply concerned about is the harmful, discriminatory legislation in Florida,” she wrote on Twitter.

This is not the first time the NAACP has issued a travel caution due to prejudice concerns. In 2017, the organization issued a travel advisory to those planning to visit Missouri.

An alert might significantly impact travelers in Florida, where tourism is a large business. According to Visit Florida, around 137.6 million tourists will visit the state in 2022. In 2021, visitors provided $101.9 billion to the state’s economy and supported almost 1.7 million jobs.

Disney, one of the most popular tourist destinations, has also been at odds with Gov. DeSantis. Recently, Disney backed out of a $1 billion proposal to develop a campus in Florida. The fight began after Disney attacked the state’s “Don’t Say G@y” law.

After DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say G@y” bill, Florida released its recommendation.

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“That law, along with other proposals under consideration,” the group noted at the time, “has turned the state’s classrooms into political battlegrounds and is telegraphing to LGBTQ families and students that they are not welcome in Florida.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens’ recommendation emphasized stringent immigration regulations in Florida. The new immigration regulations, Organization president Domingo Garcia, are “hostile and dangerous,” posing a clear and present risk to Latinos.

“Florida is a dangerous, hostile environment for law-abiding Americans and immigrants,” warned Garcia.

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