“Travel Advisory Issued by NAACP in Florida under DeSantis’ Leadership”

The actions of Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis have prompted the NAACP Board of Directors to release a travel advisory for the state of Florida, as of Saturday, June 12, 2021. The strongly worded statement identified Florida as openly hostile towards African Americans, People of Color (POC), and those who identify as LGBTQ+. The advisory warns travelers to Florida to understand that the state devalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges faced by African Americans and other POC.

A NAACP news release stated that the advisory was issued in response to Governor DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.” The organization emphasized that failing to teach the accurate representation of the inequalities and horrors that Black Americans have faced is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty.

Derrick Johnson, President, and CEO of the NAACP states his position in a clear manner, “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 further calls for allies to stand and fight alongside them to protect democracy.

Governor DeSantis signed a bill on Monday, June 7, 2021, which eliminates state or federal expenditure on programs promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at publicly-funded universities in Florida. This move amplifies the reason behind the NAACP’s travel advisory, which is grounded on a hostile environment created by the Governor’s resistance to the inclusion of diverse voices.

The NAACP is not alone in their concerns towards Florida’s recent political climate. In March, Equality Florida issued a warning of the risks posed to health, safety, and freedom of those considering traveling or moving to the state. In April, the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to predominantly Black communities in Florida, titles banned under the state’s literature ban law, in a show of support for diversity and inclusion.

Finally, Governor DeSantis’s spokesman called the travel ban a “political stunt” in response to Equality Florida’s travel advisory, indicating a lack of engagement with the issues surrounding diversity and inclusion in Florida.

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