Florida’s NAACP asks national board to issue travel advisory

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s NAACP wants a travel advisory issued for the Sunshine State.

The civil rights organization described the governor’s laws and policies as “draconian” or harsh and repressive. The Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP said people should not visit Florida until Governor Ron DeSantis changes his policies and philosophy.

However, for a business owner on the First Coast, he thinks people should move me to Jacksonville instead.

Richard Cuff said he sees potential in the northwest Jacksonville area. From the Trout River to I-95, he calls this part of Jacksonville “Blossom Ridge.” In 2015, Cuff launched a campaign to rename the northwest side of the city.

When Cuff heard that the NAACP wanted to issue a travel counselor to the state, he didn’t entirely agree.

“Not all areas of Duval County, Jacksonville or the State of Florida are ‘Ron DeSantis Country,'” Cuff said. “I think in the next 20 years, Blossom Ridge can be a place where wealthy African Americans come to retire.”

The NAACP said the travel advisory request stems from Governor DeSantis’ legislation regarding: race, gender identity, diversity, equity and inclusion. First Coast News spoke with Isaiah Rumlin, the president of the Jacksonville chapter, he said the civil rights organization needed to take a stand.

“We believe that with this travel advisory, once implemented, it will have a significant impact on the economy of the state of Florida,” Rumlin explained.

When asked at a press briefing on Thursday, Governor DeSantis smiled and said “what a joke.” He called the NAACP’s decision a stunt.

“It’s a pure stunt and fine, if you want to waste your time with a stunt, that’s fine. Look, I’m not wasting my time with your stunts, okay? I’ll make sure we do get things done here,” DeSantis said.

As for Cuff, he would like to see more black-owned businesses in Jacksonville. The local business owner said instead of telling people not to come to Florida but to move to the first coast.

“We can identify the areas that say stay away, but at the same time we can attract wealth. What we have to do. That’s what I would say. Let’s not push away wealth while trying to argue one point,” Cuff said.

The last time the NAACP issued a travel advisory was in 2017 for the state of Missouri. The civil rights organization will decide whether to issue the warning in May.


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