NAACP PRESIDENT & CEO DERRICK JOHNSON
The NAACP Board of Directors has taken a significant step by issuing a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida. This advisory is a direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive measures aimed at erasing Black history and limiting diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.
The travel advisory, which serves as a formal notice, states that Florida openly exhibits hostility towards African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals. It urges individuals considering travel to Florida to be aware that the state devalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.
NAACP President & CEO Derrick Johnson emphasized the importance of teaching an accurate representation of the hardships and inequalities that Black Americans have endured and continue to face. He expressed concern that Florida, under Governor DeSantis’ leadership, has become antagonistic towards Black Americans and is in direct conflict with the democratic ideals upon which our nation was founded. Johnson vowed that democracy would prevail and encouraged allies to join the fight for the soul of the nation.
The travel advisory was initially proposed to the NAACP Board of Directors by the organization’s Florida State Conference. The NAACP’s collective consideration of this advisory is a response to relentless attacks on fundamental freedoms from Governor DeSantis and his legislative body.
Chair of the NAACP Board of Directors, Leon Russell, criticized state leaders for prioritizing politics over people. He accused Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida of waging a blatant war against diversity, inclusion, and shared identities to cater to a dangerous extremist minority. Russell asserted that the NAACP would not allow rights and history to be held hostage for political grandstanding. He called upon fellow Floridians to join the fight to protect democracy and preserve their rights.
In March, Governor DeSantis made headlines by leading the state in rejecting students’ access to an AP African American studies course. In response, the NAACP collaborated with the American Federation of Teachers’s Reading Opens the World program to distribute 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across Florida. These books included titles that had been banned under the state’s increasingly restrictive laws. The NAACP is actively encouraging local branches and youth councils to establish community libraries to ensure access to representative literature.
The NAACP is calling on Florida residents to unite and combat the regressive policies implemented by the Governor and state legislature. Interested individuals can find additional information and updates on the NAACP’s website, www.naacp.org.
The NAACP’s travel advisory for Florida serves as a powerful statement against the erasure of Black history and the suppression of diversity and inclusion programs. It highlights the organization’s commitment to defending the rights and experiences of Black Americans and urges Floridians to join the fight to protect democracy and create a more inclusive society.