The NAACP Board of Directors has advised blacks to take precautions when traveling to Florida.
The board stated in a recent press release that the travel advisory comes in direct response to “Gov. Ron DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase black history and restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
The formal travel advisory reads: “Florida is openly hostile to African-Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people. Before you travel to Florida, please understand that the State of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”
DeSantis recently launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Twitter with CEO Elon Musk. His policies related to race, gender, abortion, public education, immigration and other critical issues led Equality Florida and the League of United American Citizens, one of the largest Hispanic and Latino American organizations in the United States, to issue a travel advisory.
Some claim that months earlier, DeSantis refused students access to an Advanced Placement course on African-American studies. I’m not a DeSantis fan. However, he did not reject the AP course. At a press conference, DeSantis explained that specific courses in the curriculum, such as Black Queer Studies and Black Lives Matter, which includes prison abolition, did not teach Black History, but instead furthered a particular ideology or political agenda.
Some of the subjects that DeSantis cut should have been kept, and some that I agree with should not be included in the AP course.
The people involved in developing the curriculum should have been more strategic about specific topics that are not the focus of Black History.
Not sticking to basic black history that many people don’t yet know about and has been skewed only opened the door for DeSantis to pick and choose.
As for the travel advisory, an economic boycott could hurt Florida, especially African-Americans.
Black Floridians make up 40 percent of the homeless population in the Sunshine State. The median income for blacks is $48,000 and Florida is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States.
Many black Floridians cannot move, although racism exists in every state in the US, some more blatant than others.
Also, according to Newsweek.com, the top 25 most-visited places in the United States, Disney World, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot Disney World and Disney Hollywood Studios were among the vacation sites. Mickey Mouse is Florida’s largest employer and money maker.
At a 2022 town hall meeting with then-Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, who was running against DeSantis’ re-election for governor, black attendees said they felt attacked by DeSantis’s policies. The community also expressed that their main concerns are the economy, affordable housing, the cost of living in Florida and public education.
I hope the NAACP has a long term plan or strategy other than telling people not to travel to Florida. Or for Floridians to join the fight.
In the meantime, the black community there should begin a search for candidates to represent their position at the state and local level. Democratic activists acknowledged that the party nationally had done little to help Florida when it came to the election. Instead, most of the money flowed to the key states.
Those who travel to Florida while there should support black businesses and visit some of the cultural centers, buying merchandise.
Expose youth to Black History outside of the public school system. Black-owned bookstores offer a variety of books on black history. Some podcasts and YouTube channels teach black history through online book club discussions.
Movement work goes beyond a travel advisory.
— The author of Vacaville is an advocate of social problems. Winner of the 2022 Congressional Woman of the Year Award. Email: [email protected]