The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida over the weekend, joining two other civil rights groups in warning potential tourists that the latest laws and policies are backed by the governor. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers are “openly hostile to African-Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.”
The NAACP, a longtime advocate for black Americans, joined the League of Latin American United Citizens (LULAC), a Latino civil rights organization, and Equality Florida, a gay rights group, in issuing a travel advisory for the Sunshine State, where tourism is based. one of the largest workplaces in the state.
A warning approved Saturday by the NAACP board of directors tells tourists that before traveling to Florida, they should understand that the state “devalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges of African-American and other communities of color.”
An email was returned to DeSantis’ office seeking comment Sunday morning. He is expected to announce his candidacy for the Republican Party this week.
Tourism is big business in Florida
Florida is one of the most popular states in the US for tourists, and tourism is one of its largest industries. More than 137.5 million tourists visited Florida last year, a return to pre-pandemic levels, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency.
Tourism supports 1.6 million full-time and part-time jobs, and visitors spent $98.8 billion in Florida in 2019, the last year data is available.
The NAACP’s decision comes after the DeSantis administration rejected the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies course in January.
DeSantis and Republican lawmakers also pushed for measures that would ban public colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory, and passed the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts certain racial conversations. and analytics in schools and businesses.
Front burner22:01Book Prohibition and Black History in Florida
“Shadow of Fear”
In its warning to Hispanic travelers planning to visit Florida, LULAC cited a new law that prohibits local governments from giving money to organizations that issue identification cards to people in the country illegally and invalidate out-of-state driver’s licenses held illegally. immigrants. among other things.
The law also requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to include a citizenship question on admission forms, which critics say is intended to deter immigrants living in the U.S. illegally from seeking medical care.
“The actions taken by Governor DeSantis have cast a shadow of fear in communities across the state,” said Lydia Medrano, LULAC Southeast Regional Vice President.
Recent efforts to limit discussion of LGBTQ topics in schools, the removal of books featuring gay characters from school libraries, the recent ban on gender-affirming care for minors, new restrictions on abortion, and a law allowing Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit. contributed to Equality Florida’s warning.
“Generally speaking, Florida’s laws and policies targeting basic freedoms and rights pose a serious threat to the health and safety of visitors to the state,” Equality Florida said in an advisory.
Recently, several pride events in the state have been canceled, with organizers citing anti-LGBTQ laws.
St. Cloud, southeast of Orlando, organizers said this week they had made the “difficult decision” to cancel the Pride festival scheduled for next month due to safety concerns.
“Florida has recently passed a number of laws targeting the LGBTQIA+ community,” they wrote in a Facebook post. “These laws have created a climate of fear and hostility for LGBTQIA+ people in Florida. We believe that holding an LGBTQIA+ event in this environment would put our community at risk.”
Meanwhile, an event in Tampa that featured drag performers was also canceled ahead of the September date, after organizers behind Pride on the River told the Tampa Bay Times they “didn’t want to take the risk.”