NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The NAACP and other civil rights groups are warning travelers to not visit Florida. The groups say recent laws championed by Gov. Ron DeSantis target people of color.
The warning was first issued by the League of United Latin American Citizens on May 17, 2023.
"For only the second time in LULAC history we're issuing a travel advisory for anybody traveling to Florida," the organization said on a live Facebook video.
Over the weekend, the NAACP made a similar announcement. The organization released a statement saying:
"Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals. Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color."
Local president of the Nashville NAACP chapter Reverend Venita Lewis said she supports the travel advisory, and said it was a necessary step to take.
"We realize that we're going to have to be a little more aggressive in the actions that we will take to let them know that we will not tolerate racism,"
It's advice people are listening to.
Amelia Vicente said Florida is the usual vacation spot for her family. But this year she won't be traveling there under any circumstances.
The recent laws passed by Governor Ron DeSantis, that void out-of-state driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants, and require hospitals to collect data on the group are prompting some to leave the state including Vicente's brother.
"People are scared they're leaving. Actually. I even have a brother living there, and he's planning to move here," she said.
And she's not the only one rethinking vacation plans.
"Even though I have family in Florida it does make me a little bit concerned about the laws that are changing," traveler, Airylle Peterson, said.
Advocates said if the trend of southern states imposing harsh laws continues, including in Tennessee, they'll be forced to take more aggressive actions including adopting the Florida travel advisory as a model.
The Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition also released this statement regarding the Florida travel advisory:
“We stand with our partner organizations and fellow siblings in the movement in Florida who have fought and will continue to fight for a Florida where everyone has the freedom to stay and the freedom to move. The new laws signed by Governor Desantis targeting immigrant communities, Black and brown folks, are abhorrent, deeply racist, and set a dangerous precedent. We support our partners in Florida who are urging immigrant families to reconsider or be careful when traveling to Florida at this time. However, we also know that communities across the country, including in Florida, are creating safe and welcoming spaces for people of all nationalities, gender identities, and races to thrive. It is long overdue for politicians to follow the lead of everyday people on the ground and support policies that improve the quality of life for all families, including those born outside of the United States.“