The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a “travel advisory” warning people to avoid Florida over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s legislative campaign to stop “woke” and racially-charged diversity trainings and to punish riotous behavior.
“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 NAACP advisory reads.
Among its reasons for declaring the “travel advisory,” the NAACP listed several bills passed by the Republican supermajority state legislature and implemented by DeSantis. Those listed bills included the “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” the “Stop Wrongs against Our Kids and Employees Act” (“Stop WOKE Act”), and the “Constitutional Carry Act” gun bill.
The “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act” (pdf) criminalizes rioting that causes damage to property or injury to other persons, bars protesters from blocking roadways, makes it a misdemeanor to harass people at a public accommodation like a restaurant, and brings Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) liability against those who organize or fund violent or disorderly public assemblies.
The “Stop WOKE Act” bars schools and businesses from teaching students and employees that they are morally superior or inferior to one another or oppressive by virtue of their race, color, sex, or national origin and that they are inherently racist, sexist, or otherwise oppressive or responsible for a past historic wrong by virtue of these attributes.
The “Constitutional Carry Act” is a bill that allows adults to carry a concealed firearm in public without a permit. The permit-free concealed carry rights apply to adult U.S. citizens or lawful residents over the age of 21, or veterans discharged under honorable conditions, who have no disqualifying criminal offenses or other legal prohibitions.
In their “travel advisory,” the NAACP also took issue with a bill that prohibits public higher education institutions from funding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs. The NAACP advisory further lists a 2019 election bill that imposes signature verification, sets a uniform list of crimes for which convicted felons cannot see their voting rights restored, and sets a requirement for all other felons to complete every term of their sentence before they can see their voting rights restored.
The NAACP is also aggrieved by the DeSantis administration’s recent criticism of a pilot Advanced Placement (AP) African American Studies course. Several political commentators have accused DeSantis of “erasing black history.” The DeSantis administration argued that elements of the AP course violated the Stop WOKE Act and in some cases included historically fictional topics. The College Board, which develops AP courses, removed or revised several elements of the course.
“Under its current Governor, the State of Florida has engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans, accurate Black history, voting rights, members of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants, women’s reproductive rights, and free speech, while simultaneously embracing a culture of fear, bullying, and intimidation by public officials,” the NAACP advisory reads.
Florida Republicans Respond
DeSantis’s office has indicated they are not phased by the NAACP’s “travel advisory” and noted they continue to see strong tourism and large numbers of people moving to Florida.
“As Governor DeSantis announced last week, Florida is seeing record-breaking tourism. This is nothing more than a stunt,” the governor’s press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, said in an emailed statement to NTD News.
A December report by the U.S. Census Bureau found that between 2021 and 2022, Florida become the fastest-growing state for the first time since 1957.
In the face of the NAACP’s call for people to avoid the state, Florida Republican Party Chairman Christian Ziegler also noted that NAACP Chairman Leon Russell lives in Tampa.
“The CHAIRMAN of the @NAACP lives in Tampa, FLORIDA! True leadership is being willing to do what you ask others to do… time to step up and MOVE. If you think our state is so bad, the @FloridaGOP will help with moving costs,” Ziegler posted on Twitter.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), who is black, called the NAACP travel advisory “stupid.”
“I’ve lived in Florida since 1996 after I graduated high school. I went to college, got married, started a career, you know, lived a normal life, went to church, raised kids, coached sports … I don’t even know what the NAACP is talking about,” Donalds said in an interview with Fox News on Monday. “This is silly, and it’s dumb. It’s political. It makes no sense. We should be focused on making sure people actually have the opportunity to achieve, which Florida is actually doing and thriving in way better than other states, let’s say New York or California or Washington state.”
From NTD News
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