The NAACP warned tourists to avoid visiting Florida in a formal travel advisory issued Saturday “in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools,” according to the organization’s press statement.
Initially put forward to the board of directors by the NAACP’s Florida State Conference, the advisory comes out of what the organization describes as “unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms” from the governor. The notice warns that the Sunshine State is now “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,” the statement said.
DeSantis signed the Stop W.O.K.E Act to ban teachings of systemic racism in schools and rebuffed the College Board’s AP African-American Studies curriculum. Derrick Johnson, NAACP president and CEO, said in the statement that the governor’s actions are “in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon.”
“Let me be clear—failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all,” Johnson said.
The statement also refers to Florida’s book bans on race- or gender-identity-related content and DeSantis’ defunding of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs at state colleges and universities. During the AP African-American Studies debacle in March, the NAACP helped hand out 10,000 books—mostly banned—to 25 predominantly Black communities across Florida, according to its statement.
“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority,” Leon Russel, Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, said in the statement.
“We will not not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding,” he added.
Representatives for DeSantis did not respond to requests for comment from CNN. When Florida’s NAACP chapter originally proposed the travel advisory, the governor slammed it as a “joke,” the New York Post reported.
“This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt and fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine,” DeSantis said in March. “But I’m not wasting my time on your stunts.”
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