It makes sense that North Texans would want to trade in big-ass bleak plains for Florida’s blissful beaches, and plenty do. But Memorial Day travelers — particularly people of color — beware: The Sunshine State has been making headlines in recent days for all the wrong reasons.
Many Texans choose to skip Corpus Christi in favor of the clear, emerald waters of Destin, Florida. No, really: It's sort of a thing.
More than 10% of all guests vacationing in Destin's Majestic Sun vacation condo rentals call Texas home, according to Ocean Reef Vacation Rentals & Real Estate.
Shoot, getting to the Floridian paradiso from Dallas doesn’t take all that much more gas or time compared with the Texas coast.
Google Maps estimates that a drive from Big D to South Padre Island would take around eight-and-a-half hours over 565 miles. A road trip to Destin, meanwhile, is roughly 11 hours and 700 miles.
Don’t get us wrong. Historically speaking, we would much rather be lounging on Destin’s white sandy beaches on Memorial Day weekend than grilling hotdogs for the third decade in a row in Grandma’s backyard. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that a pair of prominent civil rights groups have in recent days warned people of color against going to Florida.
Last weekend, the board of directors for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People unveiled a formal travel advisory for Florida. The NAACP cited in a press release GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.
"Florida is openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals,” the formal travel notice 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 communities of color."
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz jumped in on Sunday, writing on Twitter that civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. would have been "ashamed" of the NAACP's move.
King's daughter, Bernice King, then set the record straight.
"What my father would be deeply concerned about is the harmful, discriminatory legislation in Florida," she tweeted in response.
What my father would be deeply concerned about is the harmful, discriminatory legislation in Florida. https://t.co/7ivUmEqgPH pic.twitter.com/OXKo0Q5jC3— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 22, 2023
Wait, there’s (sadly) more.
Latino/Hispanic Texans should take note that the League of United Latin American Citizens recently issued its own Florida-travel warning. LULAC railed against DeSantis for signing into law “anti-immigrant measures,” which they say work to further marginalize immigrant communities and hurt the state’s economy.
LULAC President Domingo Garcia, himself a Dallas resident, warned Latinos who go to Florida to be wary during police encounters.
"We do not doubt that if Abuelita or Tia is with us and we are profiled, DeSantis' enforcement regulations will treat us like criminals, transporting a dangerous person who only wanted to visit family or enjoy Disneyworld [sic]," Garcia said in a press release last week.
Huh. A hard-right Southern governor known to target communities of color, immigrants, LGBTQ+ people, DEI programs and Black history? Why does that sound so familiar?