One local business owner believes more people should move to Jacksonville instead and bring more Black-owned businesses.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The NAACP of Florida wants a travel advisory issued to the Sunshine State.
The civil rights organization described the governor’s laws and policies are “Draconian” or harsh and repressive. The Jacksonville Chapter of the NAACP said people should not visit Florida until the Governor Ron DeSantis changes his policies and philosophies.
However, for one business owner on the First Coast, he believes people should me move to Jacksonville instead.
Richard Cuff said he sees potential in Jacksonville’s Northwest region. From the Trout River to I-95, he calls that part of Jacksonville ‘Blossom Ridge.’ In 2015, Cuff started a campaign to rename the city’s Northwest side.
When Cuff heard the NAACP wanted to issue a travel advisor to the state, he did not fully agree.
“Not every area in Duval County, in Jacksonville or the state of Florida is ‘Ron DeSantis Country’,” Cuff said. “I think in the next 20 years, Blossom Ridge can be a place that wealthy African Americans come to retire.”
The NAACP said the travel advisory request stems from Governor DeSantis’ legislation regarding: race, gender identity, diversity, equity and inclusion. First Coast News talked to Isaiah Rumlin, the Jacksonville Chapter President, he said the civil rights organization must take a stand.
“We feel with this travel advisory, once it is implemented it will have a vast impact on the economy in the state of Florida,” Rumlin explained.
On Thursday, when asked during a press briefing, Governor DeSantis smirked and said “what a joke”. He called the move by the NAACP a stunt.
“It’s a pure stunt and fine, if you wanna waste your time on a stunt, that’s fine. Look, I’m not wasting my time on your stunts, okay? I’m gonna make sure we’re getting things done here,” DeSantis said.
As for Cuff, he’d like to see more Black-owned businesses in Jacksonville. The local business owner said instead of telling people to not come to Florida but move to the First Coast.
“We can identify the areas that say stay away, but at the same time, we can attract wealth. Which we need to be doing. That’s what I’d say. Let’s not push wealth away while trying to make a point,” Cuff said.
The last time the NAACP issued a travel advisory was in 2017 for the state of Missouri. The civil rights organization will choose whether to issue the warning in May.