JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NAACP on Saturday issued a formal travel advisory for Florida saying the state 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 NAACP Board of Directors wrote in a statement.
NAACP said the advisory comes in direct response to Gov. Ron DeSantis and his “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
“Under its current Governor, the State of Florida has engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans, accurate Black history, voting rights, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, and free speech, while simultaneously embracing a culture of fear, bullying, and intimidation by public officials,” the NAACP said in a statement.
“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,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.
Last month, following the proposal of some of the toughest immigration laws in years, the NAACP and other civil rights groups, warned people not to come to Florida.
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Gov. DeSantis has said the warnings issued by the groups are “a joke,” and his spokesman issued a statement to News4JAX last month: “As the governor noted previously, this type of thing is a political stunt. We aren’t going to waste time on political stunts but will continue doing what is right for Floridians.”
The warning from the NAACP received support from the Northside Coalition in Jacksonville.
“We are asking the Governor to sit down and talk with Our Coalition of Black leaders. Unless we meet and decide a positive course of action NCOJ will be forced to initiate direct action protests and boycotts,” leader Ben Fraizer wrote in a statement.
The reaction to the advisory from News4JAX readers was mixed.
“My family and I routinely visit Florida in December to escape the cold of the northeast. We will not be visiting Florida this December due to recent legislation passed by the state government and the Florida governor. My daughter had planned to attend FAMU and now we are considering excluding that university for her college education due to the same legislation as well as the attempt to exclude certain books. It’s pathetic with the governor has done to Florida,” Reggie Washington said.
“I was planning on a cruise and NC Mountain ride on my Harley this summer, but due to the NAACP travel ban, I decided to spend my money in FL instead,” reader Bob wrote.