ST. LOUIS – Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation to prevent the state’s public colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. It was the latest in what the NAACP calls “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”
Now, the civil rights organization has issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida.
“When it comes to travel advisories, my response to people is one, understand why they were put into place,” said Adolphus Pruitt, president of the NAACP chapter in St. Louis. “Understand what the issues are and make decisions based on that information.”
Pruitt said he believes DeSantis’ decisions in Florida are rooted in the quest for political power.
“The governor of Florida wants to be president. Based on his track record in Florida, I don’t think he would make the best president,” Pruitt said.
The NAACP’s travel advisory warns that “Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color, and LGBTQA+ individuals.
“It’s sad that we even have to deal with stuff like this,” said Kendra Hampton, owner of Dream Travel Vacations. “With my clients, if they still want to go, of course, I’m going to take that extra time to sit down and really make sure they understand what’s really going on. But I will not tell my clients, oh no, don’t go.”
She said none of her clients with trips booked to Florida have contacted her about the NAACP’s travel advisory.
“The start of my business was to show everyone really that we can go anywhere and do whatever we want to do,” Hampton said. “Explore the world. There’s so much to see. Be aware. Know what’s going on and take precautions. But don’t let it stop you.”
“There needs to be some changes in Florida, just as there needs to be some changes in Missouri,” Pruitt said. “And I think travel advisories are one way of helping make people aware that those changes need to happen.”