The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a travel advisory for Florida, cautioning Black individuals to exercise caution when traveling to the state. The advisory comes in response to what the NAACP perceives as an openly hostile environment for African Americans, particularly under Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration. This is not the first time advocacy groups have advised minority communities to reconsider visiting Florida.

The travel advisory, released on Saturday, highlights Governor DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase Black history and restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools as a primary concern. The state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law and the disproportionately high number of police-involved shootings targeting Black individuals are also cited as reasons for apprehension. In light of these issues, the NAACP urges African Americans to explore alternative vacation destinations until Florida adequately addresses these concerns.

According to the NAACP, Governor DeSantis’ actions are deemed as working against the democratic ideals upon which the nation was founded. The organization asserts that Florida openly demonstrates hostility towards African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. They stress the devaluation and marginalization of contributions made by these communities and the challenges they face.

“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,” says Derrick Johnson, the President and CEO of the NAACP, in an interview with CNN.

League of United Latin American Citizens

In a similar vein, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has also issued a travel advisory for Florida following Governor DeSantis’ signing of a new immigration law, set to take effect in July. LULAC expresses concerns that this law will result in racial profiling and discrimination against Hispanic and Latino communities in Florida. The law mandates local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and allows for civil penalties against officials who refuse to comply.

Governor DeSantis has recently banned the teaching of critical race theory in Florida, arguing that it portrays the country as “rotten” and questions the legitimacy of its institutions. Furthermore, he enacted a law prohibiting the teaching of racial superiority or oppression of any racial group. The administration also halted plans for a new Advanced Placement (AP) course in African American studies, claiming it lacks educational value.

In response to state laws banning certain books, the NAACP and the American Federation of Teachers’ Reading Opens the World program have donated 10,000 books to predominantly Black communities in Florida. These books, banned under state laws, are crucial for representation and access to diverse literature. The organizations encourage the establishment of community libraries through local branches and youth councils to ensure continued access to these important resources.