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NAACP issues advisory against Florida travel over DeSantis ‘hostile’ policy

NAACP issues advisory against Florida travel over DeSantis ‘hostile’ policy

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NAACP Florida
Representatives from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund stand outside the Supreme Court in Washington. (File AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

By Steve Schuster

[email protected]

Similar to when the U.S. State Department issues a travel advisory warning U.S. Citizens not to travel abroad to a certain country due to safety concerns, the NAACP issued a similar warning to persons of color, advising against Florida travel.

The travel advisory issued Saturday by the NAACP Board of Directors was issued as a direct result of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools,” officials said in a written statement.

The travel advisory 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.”

“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,” said NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson.

According to officials, the travel advisory was initially proposed to the Board of Directors by NAACP’s Florida State Conference back in March, but was just approved this week. NAACP’s collective consideration of this advisory is a result from unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms from the Governor and his legislative body.

“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people. Governor 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.

In response to the March proposed advisory, DeSantis said, “What a joke.”

“Yeah, we’ll see, we’ll see how effective that is … This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt and fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. But I’m not wasting my time on your stunts,” DeSantis added, The New York Post reported.

The NAACP statement made note of a Florida bill DeSantis signed into law recently, which banned colleges from spending public funds on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

During the bill signing, DeSantis said, “DEI is better viewed as standing for discrimination, exclusion and indoctrination,” the New York Post reported.

DeSantis also signed the Stop WOKE Act, preventing teachers from discussing race during required training or instruction, and he also blocked an Advanced Placement African American Studies course, saying it lacked “educational value.”

The NAACP recently distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across Florida in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers Reading Opens the World program, according to the NAACP.

The majority of the books donated were titles banned under Florida’s increasingly restrictive laws, officials said noting that the Republican governor has been increasing regulations lately.

Historically, Republicans have had a more hands off Laissez-Faire (hands-off) approach to government regulation when it comes to regulating guns, the environment, and railway safety. However, when it comes to banning books, abortion, and Black History education, many Republicans, including DeSantis, have been pro-regulation.

During the hotly contested Wisconsin Supreme Court race, the Wisconsin Law Journal asked losing Supreme Court Candidate Dan Kelly why Republicans are “hands off” when it comes to regulation in so many sectors, but then chose to regulate abortion.

In response to the Law Journal’s question, Kelly punted and deferred to the legislature. Kelly lost the race to Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz.

The Republican Party, deeply rooted in the abolitionist movement, has taken a sharp turn in advocating for the removal of Black History education, and elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported May 3, 2023 Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos plans to eliminate diversity, equity and inclusion offices at public universities and hinted at potential budget cuts if the University of Wisconsin System fails to make a good-faith effort on his request.

The comments made by Vos were made despite Wisconsin’s $6 billion record budget surplus.

In a recently leaked video from popstar Taylor Swift, the artist was heard saying, “These aren’t your dad’s Republicans.”

Meanwhile back in the Sunshine State, other organizations, including the Florida immigrant coalition and the LGBTQ civil rights group have also issued similar advisories, ABC7 reported.

During the peak of the COVID Pandemic the Florida Governor made headlines for being accused of downplaying the true COVID numbers in Florida in an effort to not discourage tourism, then having the State Police arrest his data-scientist after she reported the true numbers.

Florida’s chief data-scientist Rebekah Jones claimed she published the true and correct COVID numbers, which were significantly higher than the numbers originally reported by DeSantis. Shortly after the accurate numbers were released, DeSantis ordered a raid the home of the data scientist’s home and a search and seizure of her laptop by Florida’s Department of Law Enforcement.

Right after the raid, Jones tweeted a video of officers entering her house and accused DeSantis of sending the “Gestapo” after her.

She said Florida Law Enforcement Officers pointed guns at Jones, her husband, and her kids. She has since filed a lawsuit over the search of her home.

The DeSantis administration fired Jones after she accused Florida health officials of manipulating data to suppress the number of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths. After Jones was terminated, she set up a competing COVID-19 dashboard to display data about the virus, CBS News reported.

Last week the Florida governor received criticism after Disney scrapped plans for a new Florida Campus.

Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani, who represents the Orlando area in the Florida House, released a statement blaming the governor for the lost jobs.

“Governor Ron DeSantis is a job killing moron who cares more about his own political ambitions and culture wars than Florida and our future,” Eskamani said. “According to him, ‘woke makes you go broke’ but this is another example of how it’s actually the complete opposite. DeSantis is not who you want for President — ever.”

DeSantis was recently welcomed by a large crowd in Wisconsin. NBC News reported, “The DeSantis ticket was so hot, organizers had to move the event to a convention center, which sold out at 570 people.”

Those supporting former President Trump attended the event, protesting DeSantis.

“Tell Ron DeSantis that Wisconsin is Trump Country,” read the email, which encouraged attendees to show up outside the DeSantis-headlined dinner wearing their Trump gear, NBC reported noting that the Florida Governor is expected to step into the presidential race.

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