On Saturday, the NAACP issued an official travel warning for Florida in reaction to what it called Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens and LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida have previously issued travel recommendations; the civil rights organization is the most recent to do so.
“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,” NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson said. “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.”
For a response to the travel advisory, CBS News has contacted DeSantis’ office. DeSantis is expected to begin his presidential campaign in the coming days.
The launch of an Advanced Placement course for high school students that focuses on African American studies was blocked by the DeSantis administration in January.
“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the NAACP travel notice states. “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.”
“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.” says NAACP President and CEO @DerrickNAACP
Florida has a substantial tourism business. According to the Visit Florida travel agency, the state saw 137.6 million visitors in 2022. Visitors supported more than 1.7 million jobs and $101.9 billion in state revenue in 2021.
One of the biggest tourist attractions, Disney, has been at odds with Governor DeSantis for some time. Disney recently abandoned a $1 billion project to build a campus in Florida. Disney’s criticism of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” law sparked the dispute.
After DeSantis made the “Don’t Say Gay” bill law, Equality Florida released its warning.
“That law, along with additional proposals being considered, has turned the state’s classrooms into political battlefields and is telegraphing to LGBTQ families and students that they are not welcome in Florida,” the group said at the time.
The League of United Latin American Citizens’ warning referred to Florida’s strict immigration rules. The new immigration regulations, said the organization’s president, Domingo Garcia, are “hostile and dangerous” and pose a real threat to Latinos.
“Florida is a dangerous, hostile environment for law-abiding Americans and immigrants,” Garcia said.