Read Visit Lauderdale’s Response to the NAACP’s Travel Advisory for the State of Florida

“We are a community that is open to all, and we welcome everyone under the sun,” says Visit Lauderdale CEO and president Stacy Ritter.

On Saturday, the Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People issued a formal travel advisory for the state of Florida, distributing a statement that reads in part: “The travel advisory comes in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis’ aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools. 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.”

The move follows on the heels of similar travel advisories issued by the League of United Latin American Citizens and the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization Equality Florida.

The NAACP explicitly tied its advisory to the recent decision of the College Board, under pressure from the state, to strip down its new AP African American studies curriculum. “Following Gov. DeSantis’ so-called leadership in driving the state to reject students’ access to AP African American studies course in March,” the statement continues, “the NAACP distributed 10,000 books to 25 predominantly Black communities across the state in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers’s Reading Opens the World program. The majority of the books donated were titles banned under the state’s increasingly restrictive laws. The NAACP continues to encourage local branches and youth councils to start community libraries to ensure access to representative literature.”

SFBW reached out to Stacy Ritter, the CEO and president of Visit Lauderdale, the tourism arm of Broward County, for her response. “We understand and respect the decision of the NAACP to issue a travel advisory for the State of Florida,” Ritter said. “Florida is a very large state with more than 20 million individuals, Broward County, which is in southern Florida, is a diverse and welcoming community that is proud to be home to people from all walks of life. Our reputation speaks for itself. We have a long history of supporting civil rights and equality and we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all visitors. We are a community that is open to all, and we welcome everyone under the sun.” Her words echo Visit Lauderdale’s pointedly inclusive messaging and marketing campaign.

Ritter will grace the cover of SFBW’s issue in June, the traditional “pride” month for the LGBTQ+ community. On June 14, SFBW will honor leaders in equality and belonging, in all their forms, at our annual Diversity & Inclusion Awards.

Courtesy – Visit Lauderdale Photo Credit – Graciela Valdes

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