NAACP Issues Travel Advisory For Florida, Warns State "Has Become Hostile To Black Americans"
NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida, warns state "has become hostile to Black Americans." On Saturday, the NAACP issued an official travel advise 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.
NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson said:
Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon. He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We're not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation.
- Derrick Johnson
The warning comes just a few days before DeSantis is set to start his presidential campaign. As Governor DeSantis declared last week, Florida is seeing record-breaking tourism, according to DeSantis' press secretary, who dismissed the NAACP advise as a publicity gimmick.
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NAACP issues travel warning for Florida
Johnson addressed the group's decision in an interview with CBS News. Johnson said:
We began to look at the pattern and the comments, along with the public policy that Governor DeSantis and the Florida legislative body began to enact. And we recognize that it is not only a direct attack on the African American community, but the Latino community, on women, the LGBTQIA community, and that's a problem.
- Derrick Johnson
He's using his platform as governor to try to promote 'otherism.' or racial hate and division. That should not be the case. And America needs to understand as he prepares to run for the presidency, we cannot stand as a nation another individual occupying the White House with this type of belief system.
- Derrick Johnson
In January, the DeSantis administration stopped the implementation of an Advanced Placement course for high school students focusing on African American studies, and DeSantis supported legislation prohibiting the teaching of "critical race theory" in public schools.
The NAACP travel notice states:
Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.
Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz called the travel advise "bizarre" and "utterly dishonest" in a tweet on Sunday. The senator tweeted:
In the 1950s & 1960s, the NAACP did extraordinary good helping lead the civil rights movement. Today, Dr. King would be ashamed of how profoundly they've lost their way.
- Ted Cruz
The youngest daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. Bernice King, reacted to Cruz. She tweeted:
What my father would be deeply concerned about is the harmful, discriminatory legislation in Florida.
- Bernice King
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. After Disney attacked the state's "Don't Say Gay" law, the fight began.
An alert might have a significant impact on 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.
This is not the first time the NAACP has issued a travel caution due to prejudice concerns. In 2017, the group issued a travel advice to those planning to visit Missouri.