A historic Black fraternity has canceled its Orlando convention set for 2025, days after the Florida Department of Education approved a controversial Black history curriculum that says slaves benefitted from slavery.
The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the largest and oldest Black fraternity in the U.S., also cited Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “harmful, racist, and insensitive policies against the Black community.”
The fraternity was scheduled to host its 99th General Convention and 119th Anniversary Convention in 2025 in Orlando. The convention was expected to draw up to 15,000 attendees.
“In this environment of manufactured division and attacks on the Black community, Alpha Phi Alpha refuses to direct a projected $4.6 million convention economic impact to a place hostile to the communities we serve,” Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III, Alpha Phi Alpha general president, said in a statement.
Last week, the Florida Department of Education approved new academic standards for instruction about African American history, despite teachers from across the state objecting to the changes and asking the board to put the proposal on hold.
The K-12 curriculum requires middle schoolers are taught “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”
Several Black leaders and academic professionals condemned the “whitewashed” curriculum, including Vice President Kamala Harris blasting “extremist so-called leaders.”
“The Fraternity joins a broad coalition of organizations protesting Florida’s barrage of harmful and discriminatory policies on protests, voting rights, education, and diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Alpha Phi Alpha’s statement reads.
“Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis.”
The convention is among several major conventions to cancel events in Orlando due to legislation and policies recently enacted by the DeSantis administration. Association of Peri-Operative Nurses and the Nations Society of Black Engineers are just some of the organizations that have canceled future Orlando events.
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