- State leaders and organizations are pushing back against the NAACP’s travel advisory against Florida, calling it a political stunt and unfair targeting.
- The organization issued the warning on Saturday, claiming the state has become “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.”
- The NAACP also pointed to recent legislative action as motivation for the advisory’s issuance.
A collection of state leaders and organizations, including Florida’s tourism agency, have spoken out against a recent travel advisory issued by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on grounds that Florida has become “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.”
Members of the Governor’s Executive Office dismissed the travel warning as a political maneuver in anticipation of Governor Ron DeSantis’ potential presidential campaign. The governor, who is widely anticipated to commence his bid for the White House later this week, received scrutiny earlier this year after he restricted the teaching of an Advanced Placement (AP) African American studies course in Florida schools.
“This action is nothing more than a political stunt, and, if this stunt were to have any impact, it would be to hurt the actual workers in the tourism industry. Ironically, many of these people are the very same the NAACP purports to represent,” an official in the DeSantis Administration told The Capitolist. “Further, the accusations being levied against the state could not be further from the truth. The fact is, Florida is a tough-on-crime state where all residents and visitors are protected from harm; our thriving economy gives everyone a chance to live the American Dream; and our education standards are second-to-none.”
Attorney General Ashley Moody echoed the sentiment, supplementing the notion that the civil rights group is disproportionately targeting Florida while ignoring matters elsewhere in the country.
“Stop playing games, NAACP. Where would you rather take your family on vacation—to sunny Florida where the crime rate is at a 50-year low, or to Chicago where 23 people were shot over the weekend,” she wrote on Twitter. “If you really wanted to protect travelers, you would issue an advisory for places where people are most likely to be murdered.”
The NAACP first made the advisory public on Saturday, stating that it was in direct response to legislative action undertaken by DeSantis in recent weeks to “erase Black history” and “restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
Earlier this month, the governor signed into law a series of bills that eliminate funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs in higher education institutions statewide.
The legislation also included provisions to restrict state university spending to “promote, support, or maintain any programs or campus activities” related to DEI initiatives, concurrently interdicting classroom instruction on subject areas that can be categorized as critical race theory (CRT), which is a theoretical framework and academic movement that seeks to examine and understand the ways in which race and racism intersect within power structures and social institutions.
“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals,” reads the advisory. “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.”
State Senator Shevrin Jones, who served as one of DeSantis’ sharpest critics amid the AP African American history class restriction, publicly backed the NAACP on Twitter, citing past legislative efforts.
“While I see many ([Ashley Moody], and others) make light of the NAACP travel advisory, I and others don’t see it as silly, a waste of time, or stupid,” said Jones. “Your actions, said or unsaid, are very telling of what you think of the concerns coming from Black & Brown people!”