Following NAACP Travel Advisory, Black Organization Cancels Miami Conference

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In a collision between Gov. Ron DeSantis’s culture wars and Florida’s convention industry, a nonprofit organization said it has canceled its June event in Downtown Miami.

The National Organization of Black County Officials announced Thursday that its 37th annual conference is moving out of Miami. The five-day event had been scheduled to begin June 21 at the InterContinental Miami.

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“Moving the NOBCO conference out of Florida is a difficult decision, but it is one that aligns with our core commitment to social justice,” Milli Moto, the group’s CEO and executive director, said in a statement. “We believe that by standing in solidarity with the NAACP, we send a clear message that racial equality is non-negotiable.”

The NAACP last month issued a travel advisory that urged Black visitors to avoid the state. The organization described DeSantis’s policies as “a sustained, blatant, relentless and systemic attack on democracy and civil rights.”

DeSantis kicked off his presidential campaign last week. As he has geared up to battle former President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, the second-term governor has described Florida under his leadership as a place “where woke goes to die.”

NOBCO officials didn’t say how many attendees were expected or how many hotel rooms they had booked. The organization didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The group said the event will move to Charlotte, N.C., and be held in October. North Carolina, of course, has faced travel cancellations over its own culture wars. The NBA moved its 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte because North Carolina passed legislation that limited protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The NCAA followed by moving a number of events, including the men’s basketball tournament, out of the state.

In Thursday’s announcement, NOBCO pointed to “DeSantis’s aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”

Jeff Ostrowski can be reached at jostrowski@commercialobserver.com.