The NAACP has come a long way from opposing segregation to advocating it.
The Florida arm of the NAACP wants its national board to issue a travel advisory for the state, urging Black people to avoid visiting or moving to the state of Florida in response to a slew of proposals put forth by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that they say target Black history education and other diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the Sunshine State.
“All of this is a tipping point,” Yvette Lewis, the NAACP Hillsborough County Branch president, told Yahoo News. “We encouraged more people to vote and that didn’t work because [extremist Republicans] gained more power and this is where we’re at. We had to take a strong stand because it has gone too far.”
Melba Pearson, a Miami-based civil rights and criminal law attorney specializing in policy, calls the travel advisory a “last resort.” As the legal redress chair for the NAACP South Dade Branch, Pearson said it’s the organization’s responsibility to warn Black residents and visitors that Florida is no longer a safe or welcoming place.
“It is something that we do not come to lightly; this is after we’ve tried all other methods of advocacy, education, and dialogue,” Pearson said in an email to Yahoo News. “All diplomatic routes have been exhausted, and hopefully, the threat of losing the millions of dollars of disposable income that black tourists bring to Florida every year will reignite dialogue leading to policy change.”
We’ll see if black people stay away from Disney World because the NAACP told them to. I’m going to bet that the impact of the boycott, like all previous state boycotts, including the one of Arizona (which ended up impacting Arizona Iced Tea, made in Brooklyn, more than the state) will go nowhere. This is impotent flailing for attention from the NAACP. And it shows just how hapless the opposition in Florida has become.
DeSantis has scoffed at any notion that a travel advisory would be effective, calling it a “joke” during a news conference the day after the NAACP state conference.
“We will see how effective that is,” he said.
We’ll see whether the NAACP is more effective at segregation than desegregation.