Florida Officials Reject NAACP Advisory, Urge Them to Stop Playing Games

Florida state officials have responded to a travel warning issued by NAACP, which points to recent legislation aimed at minority communities. The legislation apparently bans state colleges from including programs on equity, diversity, and inclusion. While the NAACP has not called for a boycott of the state, the organization has advised travelers to be aware of the environment. Kran Riley, the Orange County Branch president of the NAACP, said, “We just feel that it’s time for us to warn individuals that when they come to Florida, they’re coming into a hostile territory.”

The attorney general of Florida, Ashley Moody, has used social media to call out the travel advisory, particularly pointing to the lack of similar warnings in high-crime areas such as Chicago. Moody wrote, “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? If you really wanted to protect travelers, you would issue an advisory for places where people are most likely to be murdered.”

U.S. Representative Byron Donalds from Florida and U.S. Senator Rick Scott from Florida have both also responded to the advisory. Donalds criticized the NAACP in a tweet, indicating that as a black man who has lived in Florida since 1996, he believes that there is no better place to raise a family. Scott has issued his own travel advisory, warning socialists and communists who work for the Biden administration that “Florida is openly hostile toward Socialists, Communists, and those that enable them.”

Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, believes that the NAACP issued the travel advisory as a politically motivated tactic. Redfern also highlighted that Florida has one of the highest numbers of black-owned businesses in the country. Redfern added, “Florida’s success doesn’t discriminate.”

Although Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond believes the advisory will impact tourism negatively, he hopes that people will still come to the state. He commented, “I think it’s something that will have some adverse effect on tourism…I want to see people come here. I want to see people want to come here.”

Overall, this debate about the travel advisory issued by NAACP clearly indicates the politically charged environment in the United States. It further highlights the challenge of messaging travel warnings and advisories in an age of deep divisions and sentiments.

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