The NAACP has issued a traveled advisory for African-Americans planning, or considering, a trip to the “Sunshine State.”
The NAACP has issued a travel advisory to African-Americans and members of the LGBTQ+ community warning them that Florida might treat members of their community with hostility.
The warning comes as Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has banned diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at state colleges, sought to ban an advancement placement African-American history class saying it has no academic merit, and for waging a war of words with Disney over the so-called “don’t say gay” law.
In a press statement from May 20, the NAACP said, “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.”
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said, “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. 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.”
Leon Russell, chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, added, “Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority. We will not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding. The NAACP proudly fights against the malicious attacks in Florida, against Black Americans. I encourage my fellow Floridians to join in this fight to protect ourselves and our democracy.”
In response to the criticism he has received for banning DEI programs, the 2024 presidential hopeful said, “If you look at the way this has actually been implemented across the country, DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination. And that has no place in our public institutions.”
DeSantis has been vocal about his anti-woke agenda, which many in the Black community view as an attack on actual American history.
Instead, many believe that Republicans like DeSantis want to rewrite history to paint a more positive picture of many White Americans, who built America by oppressing African-Americans and Native Americans.
However, RegalMag.com contributing writer Golden Herring wrote, “Despite many conservatives having a problem with historians and scholars reporting that systemic racism and oppression are inherent in the institutions of the United States, American history shows that is true.
“The entire economic structure of America was built on slave labor.
“The social construct of race, and therefore racism, was created so that White slaveholders could justify the enslavement of African-Americans and the genocide of Native Americans.
“Even when slavery was supposedly abolished, convict leasing kept the enslavement of African-Americans alive well into the 20th century.
“Therefore, many Fortune 500 companies and institutions of higher learning like Ivy League schools built their wealth on the enslavement of African-Americans.
“When African-Americans began advancing politically during Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws were established to maintain White supremacy.”
Even today, many leaders in the African-Americans believe that the African-American community is over-policed to strip African-Americans of their rights, ability to find jobs when released from incarceration and to re-enslave members of the community via the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Despite the travel advisory to Florida, some predominantly African-American organizations like Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. have conventions already scheduled in cities like Tampa, Fla.
Nevertheless, Kappa Alpha Psi has a link on its conclave website directing members to African-American owned businesses and services.
However, many believe that the NAACP travel advisory has less to do with dissuading African-Americans from visiting from out-of-state and more to do with motivating African-American voters to stand up to Republican-led efforts that they believe move the state backwards on race relations.
Russell said, “Let me be clear: We’re not calling for a boycott or a travel ban. We’re saying to Black people who come to the state or who are thinking about coming to the state that you need to be aware of what’s going on here and you need to think about how you are going to be impacted by this hate and cruelty that is being generated. You need to consider whether or not you’re going to be safe.”
The NAACP has reported that the travel advisory has already seen much interest from the African-American community.
“Since the travel advisory, our phones have been blowing up with people on the ground wanting to know more details about why the travel advisory and the policies that impact them,” said Marsha Ellison, president of the Fort Lauderdale/Broward, Fla. branch of the NAACP. “So, this is going to be quite effective.”
Ellison said many African-Americans in Florida “aren’t in tune with (DeSantis’) racist and draconian policies.”
When DeSantis’ administration vowed to block an advanced placement African-American history, many parents in the African-American community said they would take it upon themselves to teach their children about what really happened to their ancestors in America.
Ellison added, “You can’t get blinded by the tourism piece. We’re opening people’s eyes as far as what’s really happening. This man is running for president. Florida may seem so far away to other people. But when you think about it, it could be happening in other places, you understand the importance. Black history means something to all of us, and we can’t let it be wiped away.”