NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida; calls state ‘openly hostile’

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida on Saturday, saying the state has become “openly hostile toward African Americans.”

This travel advisory is timed just days before Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to officially announce a run for the White House in the 2024 election. Members of the NAACP say the travel advisory is in direct response to DeSantis’ attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida higher education.

Earlier, the League of United Latin American Citizens also issued a travel advisory for Florida in response to the new immigration law that will go into effect in July.

Under DeSantis, Florida has banned the teaching of critical race theory, which acknowledges systemic racism is a part of American history.

WINK News spoke to Lee County NAACP President James Muwakkil in the past about the advisory when it was first being considered. He emphasized that people of color should not come to the Sunshine State.

“There is over 2 million card-carrying members of the NAACP nationwide with 2,200 units,” Muwakkil said. “There’s branches, high school chapters, college chapters, youth councils… that’s a lot of people who is going to listen to what we say.”

There is a lot at stake if people follow that travel advisory. Tourism is big business in Florida, with visitors contributing $101.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2021. Disney, one of the biggest draws to Florida, canceled a nearly $1 billion plan to build a new campus near Lake Nona amid a feud with the DeSantis administration.

Muwakkil said he hopes people take the NAACP travel advisory seriously.

“It allows us, the NAACP, to warn other Blacks across the country to not come to Florida, not send their children to Florida, not vacation in Florida if you’re Black,” Muwakkil said.

The NAACP last issued a travel advisory in 2017, warning against traveling to Missouri.

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