The Florida Legislative Black Caucus Addresses Proposed Travel Advisory To Florida  

Representative Dianne Hart, Chair

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Legislative Black Caucus strongly opposes Governor Ron DeSantis’ restricted discussions on race, gender expressions and sexuality, laws authorizing numerous book bans in schools, defunding of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Florida public colleges, prohibition of healthcare for the transgender community and legislation allowing gun owners to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.  We are deeply concerned with the civil rights and safety of our constituents based on the Governor’s political ambitions and divisiveness.

As more concerned organizations and constituents continue to stand up for what is right for our communities, Governor DeSantis will be forced to address his abhorrent decisions and the negative impact Florida’s economy may face.  How many millions of dollars and significant job losses will it take for Governor DeSantis to finally put the needs of his constituents above his political crusade?  Governor DeSantis obviously is governing to a small, vocal group of followers with lush investment portfolios, and not the majority of Floridians.

We stand in solidarity with the NAACP’s travel advisory. The formal travel notice states, “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.”

We will not stand by and remain mute as Governor DeSantis and his supporters continue to put forward dangerous policies that are rooted in extremism and lack sound reasoning.  People of color need to recognize our labor, time, and monies as a major resource to this state, and reject the whitewashing of our contributions to this country, the whitewashing of the powerful stories of our rich backgrounds, and the whitewashing of our continued struggles. We feel it’s only fair and appropriate to continue to shed light on the inequalities and disservice that people of color are facing in the state of Florida.  Misrepresenting the reality of our history promotes ignorance and apathy.  Black and Brown history is American history. We have a responsibility to provide Floridians with an accurate and complete education on the history of our country – the good and the bad – and this kind of systemic erasure and disenfranchisement has no place in a functioning democracy.  Providing Floridians with a holistic account of our nation’s history is not about “wokeness,” it is a matter of being transparent.

As we seek to educate the next generation of leaders, being transparent about our nation’s history and including all perspectives will lead to compassionate, rigorous, and truthful educational experiences. The actions of the Governor are in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon. Our rich heritage deserves to be acknowledged, celebrated, and provided with the opportunity to thrive.

We demand better from Governor DeSantis and his supporters!