The Daily Scoop: NAACP issues travel advisory in Florida over ‘hostile’ government actions 

Plus more news you can use today.

The NAACP recently issued a travel warning for Florida after the organization said that Gov. Ron DeSantis (backed by the state legislature) has engaged in “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity and inclusion programs” across the state’s schools, NBC News reported.

The NAACP’s May 20 statement on the advisory notes that the LGBTQ+ community, among others, has faced a “culture of fear,” bullying and other tyrannical tactics from public officials.

NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said that the state’s “hostile” attitude is a “dereliction of duty to all.”

The NBC News article explains that the advisory comes on the heels of the DeSantis administration blocking an AP African American studies course to be taught in Florida high schools.

The College Board, a nonprofit organization over the nationwide AP program, worked on tweaking its curriculum foundation once it was denied in Florida due to six problematic areas including “Black Queer Studies,” “The Reparations Movement” and more, according to the article.

DeSantis, on tap to begin his 2024 presidential campaign soon, made education and other matters a priority during his administration, according to the article.

Why it matters: A Florida television station, WPTV, posted about the potential repercussions of the travel advisory impacting towns across the Sunshine State.

Stuart Mayor Troy McDonald said in the article that the situation is “unfortunate.”

“The city of Stuart has had a long standing relationship with the NAACP, and I think the travel ban like this would hurt their own constituents, black-owned businesses, folks working in the service industry, and it’s not just the service industry that gets hit, it’s all the ancillary businesses that support tourism.”

Last year the state saw 137.6 million visitors — the highest number in Florida’s history, according to Visit Florida.

Martin County, Florida NAACP President Jimmy Smith, who favors the advisory, said in the article it could cost Florida millions.

“If you want to ban the books of Black authors and Black history, look what contribution the Black and Brown bring to America,” Smith said.

Given the travel advisory is effective, numerous companies and organizations in Florida will face consequences as a result of DeSantis’ actions.

These groups and orgs could consider rallying together with a unifying messaging loud and clear that emphasizes the diversity within Florida and — government aside — it is a welcoming place for Black and Brown people, the LGBTQ+ community and others.

Personalizing the message would remind tourists that the advisory, while understandable, is going to impact diverse businesses, too.

In addition to the messaging, let tourists know that they are safe to come to the state and eat, lodge, or play at your business. Also, consider promoting bookstores and minority-owned places to patronize.

Spreading this message of unity in a time of division — while advocating for the rights of the marginalized —could give travelers a reason to visit.

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is already inviting people to come to the area as they “will be welcomed with open arms,” according to News Channel 8.

Castor, “the first woman and first openly gay person” serving as the Tampa Police Department chief of police — and first openly gay mayor — said in a recent tweet that the city values everyone.

“As Mayor of Tampa, I can absolutely assure anyone and everyone considering a visit or move to Tampa that they will be welcomed with open arms,” Castor tweeted. “Diversity and inclusion are central to what makes Tampa one of America’s greatest and friendliest cities. That will never change, regardless of what happens in Tallahassee.”

This similar messaging across the state might make a difference and could bridge the gap for potential travelers unsure of where to go next.

More top headlines:

Sherri Kolade is a writer at Ragan Communications. When she is not with her family, she enjoys watching Alfred Hitchcock-style films, reading and building an authentically curated life that includes more than occasionally finding something deliciously fried. Follow her on LinkedIn. Have a great PR story idea? Email her at 


One Response to “The Daily Scoop: NAACP issues travel advisory in Florida over ‘hostile’ government actions ”

    Ronald N Levy says:

    This looks like bad news for DeSantis but a lot of money is available for PR people who can turn seemingly bad news into news that’s very good.

    If we Google “Florida population by race” and “U.S. population by race,” we see that in each case there are over four Whites for every Black. So we may imagine the effect if DeSantis advocates answer the racial accusation by saying:

    .1. White Floridians are just as deserving as Black Floridians, and as President Obama and other leaders have said, Americans of all races deserve equal rights.

    .2. Many times more Black Floridians are not members of NAACP as are members but better NAACP policies could bring much better membership and income.

    .3. With Governor DeSantis in office, Florida’s Blacks are better off–in income, health, education, jobs and other measures—than those of other states.

    .4. If Florida’s well-meaning NAACP officers would support the efforts of Governor DeSantis to improve the income of all Floridians, it would benefit Florida more than calling for a reduction in visits to Florida.

    Whether you’re a PR veteran, a recent grad or in between, you may become a darling of your management if you show skill at turning bad news for one side into good news sometimes for all sides. If you do this for more than one employer, and PR Daily’s crisis PR courses teach how to do this, you may start to be offered thrilling money by PR headhunters.

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