The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a Florida travel advisory Saturday, warning the state is “hostile” under Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The group joins Equality Florida, the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Florida Immigrant Coalition in releasing statements advising against travel to the state, which is locked into DeSantis’ “anti-woke” agenda under a Republican supermajority.
NAACP’s official advisory reads, “Florida is 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 explains that it comes in “direct response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
Last week, DeSantis signed legislation to defund diversity programs at Florida colleges and universities and prevent them from requiring “political loyalty tests.” [Ed. note: What’s meant by “requiring university staff to sign a political loyalty test” is requiring university staff to be supportive of different groups of individuals, including people of different races, ethnicities, religions, abilities, genders and sexual orientations. That’s not politics, that’s basic humanity.]
Under the bills, schools will not be able to spend money on programs or activities that “promote or engage in political or social activism.”
The measures will take effect in July. They also seek to place new requirements on general-education core courses at colleges and universities, leading to the possible removal or realignment of certain courses involving diversity-related topics.
Courses would be barred from being based on “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities.”
The move by the governor is the latest in a long line of efforts to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion programs from state schools. DeSantis also recently targeted DEI initiatives at New College of Florida, the state’s historically progressive liberal arts institution. He succeeded in removing the board of trustees, replacing it with a lineup of hand-picked conservatives allies.
The DEI-relation legislation comes alongside the “slate of hate” pushed out by the DeSantis administration in Tallahassee this year. Abortion rights, LGBTQ+ education, trans healthcare, trans bathroom use and drag shows were some of the targets of the state’s Republican supermajority.
Some Orlando organizations based on LGBTQ tourism have pushed back against the Florida travel advisories, saying those targeted should be flooding the state instead of fleeing.
Joseph Clark, CEO of Orlando-based Gay Days Inc., told Orlando Weekly he understands Equality Florida’s warning, but doesn’t resonate with the message.
“I disagree with this sense of almost encouraging people to stay away from Florida because of what’s going on. In my opinion, it’s that we should be doing the opposite. We should be flooding Florida with the LGBTQIA guests.”
DeSantis is thought to be maneuvering to secure his standing with Republican voters, as he is expected to announce a 2024 presidential campaign.
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