Black Dollar Magazine


For Black entrepreneurs, creatives, decision-makers and executives

Sign up for FREE BDM newsletter

NAACP travel advisory in Florida drawing mixed reaction from Black business owners

Black business owners are speaking out against the NAACP for issuing a travel advisory against Black people traveling and living in Florida.

NAACP travel advisory in Florida drawing mixed reaction from Black business owners

Black business owners are speaking out against the NAACP for issuing a travel advisory against Black people travelling and living in Florida.

“While the NAACP claims to represent the interest of Black and brown people, it certainly doesn’t consider the financial interest of these same Americans,” Donna Jackson, director of membership development for the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, said in a statement.

“The NAACP issued a travel advisory claiming the new DeSantis law is racist and harms Black Americans. However, it failed to mention in its statement that Florida ranks No. 2 for Black-owned businesses...,” she added.

Her comments come following the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), one of the largest civil rights organizations in the U.S., issuing a travel advisory for Black North Americans.

The organization is claiming recent policy decisions from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis “devalues and marginalizes the contributions of and the challenges faced by African Americans and other communities of color.”

“Let me be clear — failing to teach an accurate representation of the horrors and inequalities that Black Americans have faced and continue to face is a disservice to students and a dereliction of duty to all,” NAACP president and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement. “Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida has become hostile to Black Americans and in direct conflict with the democratic ideals that our union was founded upon. He should know that democracy will prevail because its defenders are prepared to stand up and fight. We're not backing down, and we encourage our allies to join us in the battle for the soul of our nation,” he added.

The travel advisory was proposed to the NAACP’s board of directors by its Florida State Conference.

In response to removing some Black history books and context from formal education systems and teaching, the NAACP has distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers' Reading Opens the World program, a statement reads.

The business case against the travel advisory

According to figures from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, there are more than 250,000 Black-owned businesses in Florida that employ more than 77,000 and average a payroll of $2.63 billion.

Following the travel advisory, Mike Hill, owner of an insurance and financial services business in Florida since 1985, also spoke out against the advisory.

He said the state has been a place of prosperity for Black Americans in business, compared to other states.

“I have lived in Florida since 1985. First stationed here as a U.S. Air Force officer, I’ve owned a successful insurance and financial services business over the past 33 years. Florida has proven to be a state of opportunity and prosperity for me and my family, including my three grown children and their families,” Hill said in a statement. “People continue to move to the Sunshine State at a rate of over 1,000 per day. Reasonable people (should) ignore and brush aside the ill-advised NAACP travel advisory…”

Business owners are concerned the travel ban could affect business, specifically tourism, in a state where some say Black enterprises are frequently patronized.

“To tell African Americans and people of color not to come to Florida as a way to boycott and address the efforts of DeSantis is not well thought out,” Stephanie Jones, founder and CEO of Black in Travel & Tourism, told Miami Herald. “Small, Black businesses in underserved communities will be used as the sacrificial lamb.”

She added DeSantis’ willingness to take on Disney as a sign that the boycott could backfire.

Eric Knowles, president and CEO of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce, also said that many Black entrepreneurs are still recovering from the pandemic lockdowns, which shuttered more than 40 per cent of Black-owned businesses, according to the Miami Herald.

“Come and support Black businesses because the Black community is being attacked,” Knowles said.

Support swelling in favour of the travel advisory online

Meanwhile, others have come out in support of the travel advisory, including the daughter of Martin Luther King, who backed the NAACP's call to action.