NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 12:58 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WWSB) - On Monday, the NAACP Board of Directors issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. The organization cites Gov. Ron DeSantis’ targeting of Critical Race Theory and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Programs in Florida schools.

Laws signed by the governor block public universities from using state funds to promote D.E.I. programs. It’s something the governor has spoken freely about in his recent appearances, including at New College of Florida in Sarasota.

“So what this bill is saying is, you know, some of these niche subjects like critical race theory, other types of D.E.I. infused courses and majors, Florida is getting out of that game. If you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley, go to some of these other places, that’s fine. It’s fine. And there’s nothing wrong if that’s what you want to do. There’s there’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but for us with our tax dollars. We want to focus on the classical mission of what a university is supposed to be,” DeSantis said to reporters during a speech.

The travel advisory was proposed to the Board of Directors by NAACP’s Florida’s State Conference.

The formal travel notice states, “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.”

After the rejection of Gov. Ron DeSantis of the Ap African American studies course, the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers’ Reading Opens the World program. The majority of the books donated were titles banned under recent laws also signed by DeSantis.

The governor signed into law a bill that allows for parents to have more control over the content their children read and makes it easier to challenge controversial books.

Virginia Haley, President of Visit Sarasota issued a statement on the travel advisory to ABC7, “It has always been our policy to be extremely welcoming to all. We back that up with training in our industry. Advisories like this tend to hurt the very people they’re trying to help like those who work in hotels and restaurants. Sarasota has always been welcoming, that’s what makes it great.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.