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Following the passing of ‘hostile’ laws, civil rights organizations caution visitors about Florida

By 05/21/2023 8:11 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

The NAACP joined two other civil rights organizations in issuing a travel warning for Florida over the weekend, alerting prospective visitors that the state’s recent laws and policies, supported by Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers, are “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals.”

The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Latino civil rights organization, and Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group, joined the NAACP, a longtime ally of Black Americans, in issuing travel warnings for the Sunshine State, where tourism is one of the state’s largest job sectors.

The NAACP board of directors approved a warning to tourists on Saturday, informing them that Florida “devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

On Sunday morning, an email was sent to DeSantis’ office requesting a response. This week, DeSantis is anticipated to declare his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.

Florida is one of the states in the US with the highest number of visitors, and tourism is one of its primary industries. According to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism development organization, more than 137.5 million visitors came to Florida last year, returning to pre-pandemic levels. 1.6 million full- and part-time jobs are supported by tourism, which also brought in $98.8 billion in revenue.

Following the DeSantis administration’s rejection of the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies course in January, the NAACP decided.

DeSantis and Republican lawmakers also pushed through legislation prohibiting state colleges from offering diversity, equity, inclusion, and critical race theory courses. They also passed the Stop WOKE Act, which limits some racial discussions and analysis in institutions of higher learning.

LULAC issued a warning to Hispanic visitors thinking about visiting Florida, citing a new law that, among other things, forbids local governments from funding organizations that give identification cards to people who are living in the country illegally and revokes out-of-state driver’s licenses held by undocumented immigrants. Additionally, Medicaid-accepting hospitals are required by law to ask patients about their citizenship on admissions paperwork, which opponents claim is done to deter illegal immigrants from getting medical attention.

According to Lydia Medrano, a LULAC vice president for the Southeast region, “The actions taken by Governor DeSantis have created a shadow of fear within communities throughout the state.”

Equality Florida issued its warning in response to recent efforts to restrict discussion of LGBTQ issues in schools, the removal of books with gay characters from school libraries, a recent ban on gender-affirming care for minors, new restrictions on abortion access, and a law allowing Floridians to carry concealed weapons without a permit.

According to Equality Florida’s advisory, the health and safety of visitors to the state are seriously at risk due to Florida’s comprehensive set of laws and policies that target fundamental liberties and rights.


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