By Stacy M. Brown,
NNPA Newswire Senior Correspondent,
The NAACP Board of Directors has issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. According to a news release from the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, the travel advisory comes in direct response to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
The formal travel notice states, “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.”
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said he wanted the message to resonate. “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,” Johnson stated.
“Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon,” he continued.
“He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We’re not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation.”
According to the release, the travel advisory was initially proposed to the Board of Directors by NAACP’s Florida State Conference.
NAACP’s collective consideration of the advisory is a result of unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms from the Governor and his legislative body, the organization asserted.
Following DeSantis’ ordering the state to reject students’ access to AP African American studies course in March, the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers’ Reading Opens the World program.
Most of the books donated were titles banned under the state’s increasingly restrictive laws.
The NAACP vowed to continue to encourage local branches and youth councils to start community libraries to ensure access to representative literature.
The organization said in the release that it has encouraged all Florida residents to join the effort to defeat the “regressive policies of this Governor and this state legislature.”
“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida have engaged in a blatant war against principles of diversity and inclusion and rejected our shared identities to appeal to a dangerous, extremist minority,” said chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, Leon Russell. “We will not allow our rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding,” Russell stated.
“The NAACP proudly fights against the malicious attacks in Florida, against black Americans. I encourage my fellow Floridians to join in this fight to protect ourselves and our democracy.”
The NAACP asked that interested residents and supporters visit www.naacp.org for additional information and updates.