NAACP Cautions Black Americans Traveling to ‘Hostile’ Florida
The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida, cautioning Black Americans who may travel to the state that 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,” the organization said in a statement Saturday.
Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has declared war on diversity and inclusion, which he describes as “woke indoctrination.” Last year, he signed a controversial bill that implemented a ban on teaching topics related to race in the state’s schools and blocked students’ access to an AP African American studies course, claiming that the course has a political agenda that would teach children “the country is rotten and that our institutions are illegitimate.”
“Let me be clear — failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said.
In an email response to the Tallahassee Democrat, DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern called the advisory “a stunt.”
The NAACP advisory comes just a few days after the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) issued a similar warning to Latinos on Wednesday, the day DeSantis signed legislation cracking down on undocumented immigration, including harsh penalties for people who transport undocumented people. The warning encourages Latinos traveling in Florida with family members to be cautious if they encounter law enforcement.
“We do not doubt that if Abuelita or Tia is with us and we are profiled, DeSantis’ enforcement regulations will treat us like criminals, transporting a dangerous person who only wanted to visit family or enjoy Disneyworld,” said LULAC National President Domingo Garcia. This is only the second time in the organization’s history that it has issued such a warning in its 94-year history, Garcia said at a Wednesday press conference.
Equality Florida and the Florida Immigrant Coalition also issued an advisory against traveling to Florida in April, citing the state’s “laws that are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum.” Just this month, DeSantis signed several bills that criminalize transgender individuals’ use of certain bathrooms and gender-affirming medical care for minors. DeSantis has also banned Florida teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade.
DeSantis is expected to announce his candidacy for president on Wednesday.