TAMPA, Florida. This is what keeps Florida alive; tourism. According to Visit Florida, 137.6 million people visited here in 2022, the most in history. Tourism contributed $101.9 billion to the state’s economy in 2021.
“Florida is a great place. You have your beaches, you have your tourists, you see people from all over the world,” said Gregory Franklin, walking along the Tampa waterfront.
But the Florida chapter of the NAACP is determined to strike at the state where it hurts the most.
“We let our voices be heard and we just let people know that we’re not going to take it. We will not just sit still. We will stand up and fight. fight, we will win,” said Hillsborough County Chapter President Yvette Lewis.
The Florida NAACP voted unanimously over the weekend to ask the NAACP National Council to issue a travel advisory. The advisory board will ask people to refrain from visiting and moving to the sunny state.
“To say you don’t want African American AP studies here because it has certain themes, certain categories, certain words. Policy. You know it brings us back. And we fought so hard,” Lewis said.
This isn’t the first time the group has pushed for travel advice or a boycott.
In 1999, the NAACP boycotted South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag over the state capitol building. It was raised 15 years after the flag was lowered. However, the ban cost the state nearly two decades of hosting NCAA tournaments, championships, and games.
In Indiana, the 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act boycott cost the state more than $60 million, according to Forbes, as conference and event organizers chose to travel elsewhere.
For visitor Gregory Franklin, this travel tip could have produced the same result.
“I think that this can change in such a way that I believe the state will lose money,” he said.
Lewis sees this as an opportunity to see change in Tallahassee.
“I hope they drop some of their thoughts, ideas and some of their race-targeted bills,” she said.
The NAACP National Council meets again in May. This is the earliest they can discuss travel advice.