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‘Hate-inspired’ leadership: NAACP is second group to warn against travel to Florida

The “Partners” statue sits in front of Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom on May 1, 2019 at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.  (Allie Goulding/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
By Grethel Aguila Miami Herald

The oldest civil rights group in the U.S. is cautioning travelers to reconsider visits to Florida as they join other advocates in expressing distaste for the state’s “openly hostile” leadership.

The NAACP issued a travel advisory Saturday in response to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ attempts to ban books, reject the Advanced Placement African American Studies course and restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida colleges. The advisory was proposed to the Board of Directors in April during the Florida chapter’s conference in Orlando.

“Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the advisory says. “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.”

For NAACP President Derrick Johnson, DeSantis has launched “unrelenting attacks on fundamental freedoms.”

“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 said in a statement.

The NAACP has pushed back against DeSantis and state lawmakers, even distributing thousands of banned books related to race to communities of color across the state.

“Once again, hate-inspired state leaders have chosen to put politics over people,” chair Leon Russell said in a statement. “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.”

The NAACP isn’t the only civil rights group to declare a travel advisory for Florida.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, one of the oldest Hispanic civil rights groups in the U.S., issued a warning Wednesday advising immigrants to avoid traveling to Florida because of DeSantis’ recent crackdown on immigration.

Earlier this month, DeSantis signed a bill that limits undocumented migrant labor, ends community-funded programs that give undocumented immigrants ID cards and toughens penalties against those who transport undocumented immigrants into the state.

“If you bring your tía (aunt) to Disney World… to Miami or Universal Studios, they are going to charge you with a felony for bringing your undocumented friend or relative to Florida,” president Domingo Garcia said during a press conference. “Florida is a dangerous, hostile environment for law-abiding Americans and immigrants.”