The NAACP has officially issued a travel advisory warning for Black people visiting Florida, saying that the state has become "hostile to Black Americans" following policies from the state's Republican government.
The advisory comes in direct response to governor Ron DeSantis' recent crackdowns on education, which has restricted topics involving racism and LGBTQ+ identities, requiring books in schools to be approved by a state trained media specialist. The DeSantis administration also recently blocked a nationally taught AP African American History class for having a "political agenda."
“On a seeming quest to silence African-American voices, the Governor and the State of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the State of Florida,” the advisory reads, continuing, “Due to this sustained, blatant, relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights, the NAACP hereby issues a travel advisory to African Americans, and other people of color regarding the hostility towards African Americans in Florida."
The Florida State Conference of the NAACP unanimously voted to issue the warning in March, with the national branch implementing the advisory after the blockage of the AP African American History class, as well as bans at the college level on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and gender studies classes.
“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,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “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."
Johnson also said in an interview with CNN that "we should not use race or othering as a tool to weaponize against people," but that "unfortunately for a large percentage of Floridians, that’s what [DeSantis] has done."
“The governor has perfected the art of pulling stunts to gain campaign contributions,” he said. “Unfortunately, this will impact people’s lives. ... Therefore, we are advising African Americans and others that if you travel to Florida, beware that your life is not valued.”