There are 250,000 male members of Alpha Phi Alpha throughout the United States, Bermuda, Bahamas, Virgin Islands, South Korea, Japan, Liberia, Germany, and Kuwait. The 6,000 States members will move its $4.6 million for Florida at a yet-to-be-determined location.
The decision comes in the wake of a travel advisory issued by the NAACP and other civil rights organizations, warning that recently passed laws and policies in Florida are openly hostile towards African Americans, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Dr. Willis Lonzer, the fraternity’s general president, stated in a recent press release that the decision was partly motivated by Florida’s new education standards, which require teachers to instruct middle school students that slaves developed skills that “could be applied for their personal benefit.” Dr. Lonzer added, “Although we are moving our convention from Florida, Alpha Phi Alpha will continue to support the strong advocacy of Alpha Brothers and other advocates fighting against the continued assault on our communities in Florida by Governor Ron DeSantis.”
Governor DeSantis, who is currently running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has faced criticism this week over Florida’s new education standards.
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has criticized fellow Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for supporting new standards that require teachers to instruct middle school students that slaves developed skills that “could be applied for their personal benefit.”
“What slavery was really about was separating families, about mutilating humans and even raping their wives. It was just devastating,” Scott, the sole Black Republican in the Senate, told reporters recently after a town hall in Ankeny. “So I would hope that every person in our country — and certainly running for president — would appreciate that.”
The NAACP, along with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Equality Florida, issued travel advisories for Florida in May, citing laws that prohibited state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as critical race theory. They also highlighted the Stop WOKE Act, which restricts certain race-based conversations and analysis in schools and businesses. The groups further pointed to laws that they believe have made life more difficult for immigrants in Florida and limited discussions on LGBTQ topics in schools.
In addition to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, at least nine other organizations or associations have decided to cancel conventions in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, two of Florida’s most popular convention cities, due to the state’s political climate.
Florida is a top tourist destination in the U.S., with tourism being one of the state’s largest industries. Last year, over 137.5 million tourists visited Florida, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels. According to the U.S. Travel Association, travel spending in 2022 hit $122.9 billion in Florida.