NAACP Issues Florida Travel Advisory, Calls State 'Openly Hostile' to People of Color, 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 advisory warned

Joe Raedle/Getty  Ron DeSantis
Joe Raedle/Getty Ron DeSantis

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has issued a travel advisory for Florida, saying the state and its Republican governor are "openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals."

The organization issued the advisory over the weekend, saying in a statement: "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."

In an announcement concerning the advisory, NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson cited recent actions taken by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, including his elimination of funding for diversity, equity and inclusion programs at public universities.

A bill signed into law by DeSantis earlier this month also prohibits the teaching of critical race theory in general education courses.

Related:Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' Administration Blocks AP African American History Course From High Schools

AP Photo/Phil Sears Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
AP Photo/Phil Sears Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

Diversity, equity and inclusion (also known as DEI) and critical race theory (or CRT) courses have become a hot-button topic, particularly among conservatives who argue that the classes will teach white students that they are inferior to their minority peers. Progressives, however, say that these classes help foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment.

DeSantis has argued against them, claiming that "woke" ideology is racially divisive and discriminatory. CRT, he has said, is "state-sanctioned racism that ... [teaches] kids to hate our country or to hate each other."

Related:Lester Holt Calls Modern Journalism a 'High Calling' as He Takes 'Nightly News' on the Road to Florida

The NAACP's travel advisory comes on the heels of similar measures by organizations including LGBTQ+ activist group Equality Florida, which in April issued an advisory of its own.

Gov. DeSantis, Equality Florida argued in a statement, "has weaponized state agencies to silence critics and impose sanctions on large and small companies that dissent with his culture war agenda or disagree with his attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion."

That organization's advisory warns of what it calls "the risks posed to the health, safety, and freedom of those considering short or long term travel, or relocation to the state."

The Florida Immigrant Coalition, a statewide immigrant rights coalition, also issued a travel advisory in April, urging reconsideration of those traveling to Florida.

Related:Ron DeSantis Moves to Apply Florida's Restrictive 'Don't Say Gay' Law in High School Classrooms

Marta Lavandier/AP
Marta Lavandier/AP

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DeSantis is expected to announce a run for the presidency in the coming days. He has dominated headlines since assuming the office of governor, largely by fueling culture-war conflicts by enacting Florida's "Don't Say Gay" law, pushing to ban gender-affirming medical care, refusing to order COVID vaccines for young children, and scolding students wearing masks.

While DeSantis was initially viewed as a formidable opponent to former President Donald Trump — who announced his own 2024 candidacy last year — some Republican donors have recently said they won't help finance a presidential bid by the governor due to his extreme social positions on things like abortion, book bans and his continual fight with Walt Disney World.

Related:Disney Scraps Plan to Bring 2,000 High-Paying Jobs to Florida amid Feud with Ron DeSantis

DeSantis has been feuding with Disney since March 2022, after the company openly opposed the so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill — a measure the governor endorsed and signed into law that restricts classroom discussion around gender identity and sexual orientation.

The tourism juggernaut — which produces a more-than $75.2 billion annual economic impact for Florida — is now suing DeSantis after he hosted a press conference in which he joked about building a private prison next to Disney World, suggested opening a competing theme park near the property, and discussed the possibility of raising the company's taxes and imposing harsher restrictions on theme park rides.

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