DeSantis: State NAACP travel advisory proposal ‘a joke’

The Sunshine State's NAACP branch contended that issuing the advisory and encouraging people not to visit the state would "have a vast impact on the economy" of Florida.

Florida’s NAACP wants the state to issue a travel warning in light of the governor’s policies targeting race and diversity in educational institutions.

The Sunshine State’s NAACP chapter met in Orlando on Saturday, where its members unanimously voted to urge the organization’s national board to issue the missive, citing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ insensitivity when it comes to “issues facing people of color,” according to USA Today.

“Somebody’s going to have to stand up against the governor and his policies and make him do the right thing,” said Isaiah Rumlin, president of the Jacksonville-based NAACP branch, USA Today reported. He noted that issuing the advisory encouraging people not to visit the state would “have a vast impact on the economy” of Florida.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a campaign rally in Orlando in November. The state’s NAACP chapter says the governor’s policies negatively affect Black people and it is urging the organization’s national board to issue a travel advisory for the state. (Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)

DeSantis, on the other hand, scoffed at the Florida NAACP vote, asserting he would not squander time on it.

“What a joke,” he said Thursday. “Yeah, we’ll see how effective that is.”

“Our country, you know, it goes through all these — we get involved in these stupid fights,” DeSantis continued, according to USA Today. “This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt, and fine if you want to waste your time on a stunt.” 

The governor vowed to ensure “we’re getting good things done here” as he emphasized his efforts to “continue to make [Florida] a great state.”

Rumlin – who claimed the joke is on DeSantis and his plans – cited several government measures that affect how educators can teach and discuss race in Florida schools.

DeSantis signed the Stop WOKE Act and forbade a new Advanced Placement course in African American studies, which critics say will force schools to whitewash unpleasant aspects of the country’s racial history. The governor is also working to have all diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives discontinued at Florida’s colleges and has established an electoral police squad that has primarily targeted Black Floridians.

“This is not a stunt,” or a joke, contended Rumlin, noting that the NAACP intends to see the request through to the finish line, USA Today reported.

Hillsborough County NAACP president Yvette Lewis said efforts to limit the rights of Black and marginalized people precede this legislative session, the Tampa Bay Times reported. 

In addition to arrests and convictions for voting fraud and erroneous redistricting plans that divided primarily Black voting areas, Lewis asserted the travel advisory request was also motivated by legislation violating people’s rights. She referenced a planned ban on abortions after six weeks and proposed restrictions on the use of preferred pronouns in schools.

“We are an organization that protects people’s civil rights,” said Lewis, the Tampa Bay Times reported, “and this is a first step to doing that.”

The activist said she hoped the warning would draw attention to what she described as an urgent situation that she worried would bring a repeat of an oppressive past.

“People are seeing what’s happening in Florida,” Lewis noted, according to the Tampa Bay Times, “and I hope that help is coming.”

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!