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NAACP president explains why the group issued Florida travel advisory

NAACP President Derrick Johnson on Monday said African Americans’ lives “are not valued” in Florida, which is why the organization has issued a travel advisory in response to the state’s education, immigration and LGBTQ policies.

“We didn’t end here overnight. It was because of the election,” Johnson said on “CNN This Morning.” “So we have to prepare for the next election, so we can get rid of him once and for all. This othering that we have seen first by Trump, now by him, is not only un-American, it’s dangerous, and we have to right-size this landscape.”

The NAACP issued a formal travel advisory Saturday in response to what the group described as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”

“Therefore, we are advising African Americans and others that if you travel to Florida, beware that your life is not valued, that we have a political landscape that could cause harm as we prepare for the 2024 elections to right-size the political landscape in the state of Florida,” Johnson said.

The NAACP’s advisory comes months after Florida’s decision to reject students’ access to an AP course on African American studies. DeSantis has waged a long war to erase any traces of “wokeness” in Florida’s K-12 and higher education institutions. Last week, DeSantis signed into law a bill that restricts colleges and universities in Florida from spending their cash on most diversity, equity and inclusion programs and earlier transformed the traditionally liberal arts college New College in Sarasota into a conservative institution.

The DeSantis administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment. When asked about the potential travel advisory in March, DeSantis called it a “stunt.”

“What a joke. What a joke,” DeSantis said in March. “Yeah, we’ll see how effective that is. It’s ridiculous. And we’re proud to be leading the nation in tourism. This is part of the reason why our country goes through all of these — we get involved in these stupid fights. This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt.”

Last month, Equality Florida issued a travel advisory in response to laws that “are hostile to the LGBTQ community, restrict access to reproductive health care, repeal gun safety laws, foment racial prejudice, and attack public education by banning books and censoring curriculum.” And last week, the League of United American Citizens, the largest Hispanic and Latin-American organization in the U.S., also issued a travel advisory warning against visiting Florida because it is said the state has become a dangerous and hostile environment for immigrants.

The state boasts its number of visitors with approximately 137.6 million visitors in 2022, the largest number of visitors in the state’s history, according to tourism agency Visit Florida.

Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) called the travel advisory “really stupid”

“I don’t even know what the NAACP is talking about,” Donalds, who is Black, said on “Fox and Friends” Monday. “This is silly and it’s dumb. It’s political. It makes no sense.”

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