A Florida Black business owner said travelers thinking about vacationing in the Sunshine State should ignore the NAACP’s recent travel advisory.
"I would tell Black people who have seen this advisory to not come to Florida to simply ignore it," Mike Hill, the owner of an independent insurance and financial services agency in Pensacola, told Fox News Digital.
The NAACP’s travel advisory, issued earlier this week, accused Florida of being "hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals." The organization said in a press release that the action was "in direct response to Governor Ron DeSantis' aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools." It also cited various bills the governor recently signed including restrictions on abortion, the new constitutional carry law, and the ban on funding for DEI programs at Florida’s public universities.
"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 statement read.
But Hill accused the NAACP of putting out the statement, which received extensive media attention, to help fundraise.
"I believe that they see the amount of tens of millions of dollars that Black Lives Matter has been able to raise from the leftist agenda, and so they want a part of that gravy train," he said. "I believe it was more a publicity stunt. It was an attempt to fundraise more than anything else."
He also claimed the statement was put out now as "fodder" to use against DeSantis while he is running for president; he officially entered the 2024 field this week. And he pointed out that the NAACP’s Board of Directors chairman, Leon W. Russell, lives in the Tampa area.
"The irony that he has lived here most of his adult life, has actually witnessed the fact that a thousand people a day move to Florida for the opportunity that's here and that he would still issue out a statement saying don't come here because of the racist attitudes that exist in Florida," Hill said.
DeSantis blasted the NAACP's travel advisory as a "political stunt" during his conversation with Elon Musk on Twitter's "Spaces" platform Wednesday evening when he announced his 2024 presidential campaign.
"Claiming that Florida is unsafe is a total farce," he said.
Hill, who is also part of an initiative promoting Black Americans called Project 21, said the NAACP's actions would only hurt the organization going forward.
"I don't think is going to deter anyone from coming to Florida," Hill said. "If anything, I think this is going to backfire on the NAACP and show just how irrelevant they've become as an organization."
To hear more from a Florida business owner, click here.