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.”
I’ve lived in FL since '96.— Congressman Byron Donalds (@RepDonaldsPress) May 22, 2023
I went to college, got married, started a career, raised kids, coached sports & attended church in FL & NEVER had a problem.
I don’t know what NAACP is talking about.
FL is doing a SIGNIFICANTLY better job helping Black people succeed than NY or CA. pic.twitter.com/UCX46S12Id
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.