TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The mayor of Tampa has spoken out regarding the city after a travel advisory was issued for Florida by a leading civil rights group, the NAACP, this weekend.
The NAACP issued the travel advisory Saturday alleging the state “has engaged in an all-out attack on Black Americans,” along with other groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and women.
The organization said the 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.”
Several bills signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are cited in the advisory, including the 6-week abortion ban, the Constitutional Carry Act, and the “Stop W.O.K.E. Act.” Bills reducing access to gender-affirming healthcare are also cited in the advisory.
After the NAACP issued the advisory, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor addressed the news on her Twitter account, stating that anyone considering visiting or moving to Tampa “will be welcomed with open arms,” regardless of “what happens in Tallahassee.”
Mayor Castor, who became the first woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chief of Police for the Tampa Police Department, as well as becoming the first openly gay person to be elected Mayor of Tampa, added that diversity and inclusion are an important part of “what makes Tampa one of America’s greatest and friendliest cities.”
“As Mayor of Tampa, I can absolutely assure anyone and everyone considering a visit or move to Tampa that they will be welcomed with open arms. Diversity and inclusion are central to what makes Tampa one of America’s greatest and friendliest cities. That will never change, regardless of what happens in Tallahassee,” Mayor Castor said on Twitter.
Previously, the NAACP’s Board of Directors approved the request for a travel advisory from the Florida chapter, which was voted unanimously in favor of back in March.
“Please be advised that Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the advisory reads. “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 minorities.”
Following the NAACP’s request for a travel advisory in March, Gov. DeSantis responded to the motion, calling the decision “a joke.”
In an email to 8 On Your Side, Governor Ron DeSantis’ office said the travel advisory is a stunt, which is how DeSantis has responded to previous travel warnings.
“We get involved in these stupid fights,” DeSantis said months ago. “This is a stunt to try to do that. It’s a pure stunt. And fine, if you want to waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine.”