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Alpha Phi Alpha Pulls Out of Florida Convention Over DeSantis' Policies
In response to the uproar over Florida’s new African American history standards for K-12 students, Alpha Phi Alpha has taken a decisive step by relocating its 119th-anniversary convention from Orlando. The fraternity cited Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ policies towards Black communities as “harmful, racist, and insensitive” as the primary reason for their decision.
This action by the fraternity follows an NAACP travel advisory that cautioned against visiting Florida due to the concerns surrounding its treatment of African American history in schools. The combination of the travel advisory and Alpha Phi Alpha’s convention withdrawal highlights the growing discontent over the state’s educational policies and their impact on the perception of Black history.
The controversy erupted when Florida unveiled its revised African American history curriculum, which drew strong criticism for including a perspective that portrayed slavery as beneficial to some of the enslaved individuals. This move came on the heels of Governor DeSantis’ earlier decision to ban an AP African American History course.
A $4.6 million Event to the Central Florida Region
Alpha Phi Alpha’s convention, initially scheduled for 2025, would have been a major event bringing an estimated $4.6 million to the Central Florida region. However, in a powerful statement of protest against the state’s educational policies, the fraternity made the choice to withdraw their convention from Florida.
The decision underscores the deep concerns within the Black community regarding the portrayal of African American history in the state’s educational system. By removing their convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha aims to send a message that they stand in solidarity with those advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of historical events, particularly concerning the dark chapters of slavery.
“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has an unmatched legacy of social justice, advocacy, and leadership for the Black community,” said General President Dr. Willis L. Lonzer, III in an official statement. “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. 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.”