The NAACP’s Travel Advisory for Florida: A Stand Against Erasure of Black History and Restriction of Inclusion Programs
In a significant move that has garnered national attention, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida. This advisory, widely reported by major news outlets such as NBC News, CBS News, and CNN, was issued in response to what the NAACP has described as Governor Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
The NAACP’s travel advisory serves as a stark warning, cautioning that Florida is “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.” This advisory underscores the organization’s commitment to advocating for the rights and safety of these communities, particularly in environments where their history, contributions, and identities are being systematically undermined.
The catalyst for the advisory was the DeSantis administration’s decision to block an Advanced Placement course in African American Studies from being offered in Florida high schools. The administration justified this move by stating that the content of the course was “inexplicably contrary to Florida law and significantly lacks educational value.” This decision has been met with widespread criticism, with many arguing that it is a blatant attempt to erase and devalue Black history.
Derrick Johnson, the President and CEO of the NAACP, has been vocal in his criticism of this decision. He stated that “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’s words highlight the importance of education in fostering understanding and empathy, and the role it plays in combating systemic racism.
The NAACP’s travel advisory was initially proposed by the organization’s Florida State Conference, which voted unanimously in favor of it. This unanimous vote underscores the gravity of the situation and the collective concern within the organization about the state’s policies and their impact on marginalized communities.
In addition to its concerns about the erasure of Black history, the NAACP also criticized Florida’s new concealed weapon law, which allows gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. The organization stated that such measures are “not business-attractive policies” and urged members to consider holding conventions outside of Florida. This criticism highlights the NAACP’s commitment to advocating for policies that promote safety and inclusivity.
The NAACP’s travel advisory for Florida is not the first of its kind. In 2017, the NAACP issued a travel advisory for Missouri after the state passed a law that made it more difficult for employees to prove their protected class, such as race or gender. The NAACP stated that the law allowed for unlawful discrimination,underscoring the organization’s ongoing commitment to combating systemic racism and discrimination in all its forms.
The issuance of these travel advisories by the NAACP is a powerful tool in the fight against systemic racism and discrimination. They serve as a public condemnation of policies and practices that harm marginalized communities, and they send a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated. Moreover, they raise awareness about these issues among the wider public, encouraging individuals to stand in solidarity with these communities and to advocate for change.
The decision to issue a travel advisory is not taken lightly. It is a response to serious and systemic issues that pose a threat to the safety and well-being of marginalized communities. In the case of Florida, the NAACP has identified a range of concerns, from the erasure of Black history in schools to the introduction of potentially dangerous gun laws. These issues, the NAACP argues, create an environment that is openly hostile to African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
The NAACP’s travel advisory for Florida serves as a call to action. It urges individuals and organizations to reconsider their travel plans to the state and to stand in solidarity with the communities being targeted by these policies. It also calls on the DeSantis administration to reverse its decision to block the African American Studies course and to reconsider its stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in schools.
The NAACP’s stance is clear: the erasure of Black history and the restriction of diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in schools is unacceptable. These actions not only harm the students who are denied access to this important educational content, but they also contribute to a broader culture of racism and discrimination. By standing against these actions, the NAACP is advocating for a more inclusive, equitable, and just society.