NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida: “open hostility” toward African Americans
The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida Saturday, citing recent legislation signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The civil rights organization describes recent legislation as a “relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights” against African Americans, LGBTQ+ individuals and people of color.
“We will not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding,” the chairman of the NAACP, Leon W. Russell, who lives in Tampa, said according to a press release.
The advisory specifically mentions multiple laws signed by DeSantis, describing them as “anti-civil rights measures.”
- HB 1, an anti-riot law from 2021 that expands the penalties for rioting, currently faces a federal lawsuit alleging the bill is in violation of the right to protest and targets protests against police brutality.
- The “Stop W.O.K.E. Act”, a law that prevents schools from teaching critical race theory, which was blocked by a federal judge and reaffirmed by an appeals court in March.
- The Constitutional Carry Act, a 2023 law that allows concealed carry without a permit.
- Florida Senate Bill 266, which prevents Florida colleges from using state money to fund diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
- Florida Senate Bill 7066, signed in 2019, requires citizens with felony convictions to pay all fees associated with their cases before regaining their right to vote.
Florida Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fort Myers), who is Black, vehemently disagreed Monday morning on Fox News’ morning talk show, Fox and Friends.
“I don’t even know what the NAACP is talking about. This is silly and it’s dumb. It’s political. It makes no sense.”
The NAACP advisory follows suit with two other civil rights organizations, the League of United Latin American Citizens and Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group, which set similar travel warnings for Florida.
Nikki Fried, current chair of the Florida Democratic Party and former gubernatorial candidate said, “Ron DeSantis has a long history of enacting policies that are harmful to the Black community – illegal gerrymandering that cost Florida a Black congressional seat, voting restrictions meant to limit and intimidate Black voter access, manipulating and erasing the history and achievements of Black Americans, and banning diversity, equity, and inclusion programs (DEI) at our state universities – all to appeal to the MAGA faction of his base in hopes of securing his presidential ambitions. Florida is a beautiful, diverse state visited by millions of tourists from all walks of life each year. Everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, should be able to visit this state freely, without fear of hostility or violence.”
The NAACP has filed travel advisories before; in 2017, it warned African American passengers to avoid traveling with American Airlines, which it criticized for multiple conflicts which they described as discriminatory. It also advised extreme caution while traveling to Missouri in 2017 after the state passed a law making it more difficult to prove discrimination in court.
Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, which kicks off the summer’s travel season, the trio of advisories also precedes DeSantis’ expected presidential run announcement later this week.