Orlando, Fla. (AP) – Several civil rights groups have issued a recommendation not to travel to Florida because of laws and policies pushed by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature they called “clearly hostile to African-Americans, people of color” . and LGBTQ+ people.”
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Hispanic civil rights organization, and Equality Florida, an advocacy group for gay rights, made the recommendation for the state, where tourism It is one of the major employment sectors.
The recommendation, approved Saturday by the NAACP board of directors, warns tourists that before traveling to Florida, they should understand that the state “undervalues and marginalizes the contributions and challenges of African-Americans and other communities of color.” “
DeSantis’ office has yet to comment. The Republican is expected to announce this week whether he will run for president.
Florida is one of the most popular states in the United States for tourism, comprising one of the largest sectors of its economy. More than 137.5 million tourists visited Florida last year, matching pre-pandemic levels, according to Visit Florida, the state’s tourism promotion agency. Tourism supports 1.6 million full- or part-time jobs, and tourists spent $98.8 billion in Florida in 2019, the most recent year for which figures are available.
On Sunday, several Democratic mayors in the state were quick to say that their cities embrace diversity and inclusion.
St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch said in a message reiterated by the Tampa mayor, “Everyone is always welcome and will be treated with dignity and respect.”
Tampa Mayor Jan Castor tweeted, “No matter what happens in Tallahassee, that will never change.”
The NAACP’s decision comes after the DeSantis administration rejected a curriculum for African-American studies in January. DeSantis and the Republican-dominated legislature have also advanced bills barring universities from holding diversity, equality and inclusion programs, and passed a law that prohibits certain conversations or discussions about race in schools and businesses. .
In its warning to Hispanics considering traveling to Florida, LULAC cited a law that prohibits local governments from funding organizations that provide ID cards illegally in the country, and other states. revokes the driver’s license. other things. The law also requires hospitals receiving Medicaid to include a citizenship question on intake forms, which critics say is an attempt to prevent caregivers from entering the country illegally.
“The actions taken by Governor DeSantis have cast a shadow of fear among communities across the state,” said Lydia Medrano, vice president of LULAC’s Southeast region.
Mike Schneider is on Twitter as @MikeSchneiderAP