‘Stop playing games:’ Florida officials push back against NAACP travel advisory

Sen. Rick Scott announces travel advisory for Socialists and Communists

Attorney General Ashley Moody (left) and Orange County Branch president of the NAACP Kran Riley (right) (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Following a travel advisory by the NAACP for those traveling to Florida, state officials are now pushing back in response.

The NAACP’s advisory points to recent legislation that the organization claims targets minority communities, such as banning state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We’re saying to come. Just be aware what kind of state it is,” said Kran Riley, the Orange County Branch president of the NAACP. “We just feel that it’s time for us to warn individuals that when they come to Florida, they’re coming into a hostile territory.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called out the advisories on social media, pointing out that similar advisories didn’t exist for high-crime areas like Chicago.

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“Stop playing games, NAACP,” Moody wrote on Tuesday morning. “Where would you rather take your family on vacation — to sunny Florida where the crime rate is at a 50-year low, or to Chicago where 23 people were shot over the weekend? If you really wanted to protect travelers, you would issue an advisory for places where people are most likely to be murdered.”

U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., also attacked the advisory on Twitter, saying that the group should instead focus on issues like inflation or border policies.

“What the NAACP is doing with its ‘travel advisory’ is silly and dumb,” Donalds said. “It makes NO sense. As a Black man who’s lived in Florida since 1996, I can tell you there’s no better place to go to school, start a career, raise a family, and live free from failing Democratic policies.”

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., pushed his own travel advisory for Socialists visiting the state.

“Florida is openly hostile toward Socialists, Communists, and those that enable them,” the advisory reads. “Before traveling to Florida, please understand that the state of Florida devalues and marginalizes the contributions of, and the challenges faced by Socialists and others who work in the Biden Administration.”

Meanwhile, Jeremy Redfern, the press secretary for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, said that the NAACP pushed the advisory as a politically motivated tactic.

Redfern also pointed to the fact that Florida is among the top states in the country for number of black-owned businesses.

“Florida’s success doesn’t discriminate,” he wrote.

Additionally, Redfern posted an image of NAACP Board of Directors Chairman Leon Russell’s Twitter account, which shows that he lives in Florida.

Orange County Comptroller Phil Diamond said he’ll be watching the travel advisory’s impact on tourism.

“It certainly won’t help, but as far as how much it’s going to hurt remains to be seen,” Diamond said. “I think it’s something that will have some adverse effect on tourism... I want to see people come here. I want to see people want to come here.”

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Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined ClickOrlando.com in April 2022.