▶ Watch Video: NAACP issues travel advisory for Florida amid Gov. DeSantis’ conservative crackdown

Critics argue that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ conservative crackdown in the state has contributed to a growing sense of hostility.  

The NAACP issued a travel advisory for Florida over the weekend, saying the state is “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.”

This advisory comes after a series of measures recently signed by DeSantis. Similar warnings have been issued by Equality Florida and the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, expressed concerns about Florida’s governance under DeSantis, specifically highlighting his actions and policies.

“We want to make sure the rest of America understand the hostility in which he is governing in his quest to become president,” Johnson said.

A spokesperson for DeSantis dismissed the NAACP advisory as a “stunt.” And tourism in Florida is high, with a record-breaking 137 million tourists visiting the state last year.  

The advisory was issued just days before DeSantis is expected to launch his presidential campaign this week, and he has been solidifying his conservative credentials. He has prohibited public high schools from offering an African American studies Advanced Placement course, banned teaching about gender identity and critical race theory across all grades and signed a six-week abortion ban.

He has consistently emphasized his stance against what he refers to as the “woke mob.”

Heather Wilkie, executive director of Zebra Youth, an organization providing services to LGBTQ teens and young adults in Orlando, said the measures have had an impact on people’s lives.

“It may take years for us to unwind the damage that has been done here in Florida,” Wilkie said. 

The backlash against the measures has extended to Disney, Florida’s largest private employer. Disney has been locked in a feud with DeSantis ever since it opposed a state law commonly known as “Don’t Say Gay.” In a recent development, Disney scrapped its plans for a billion-dollar new campus in the state.

“People are so afraid because they’ve seen these targeted attacks. Look at what happened with Disney,” Wilkie said.