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Black Fraternity & Engineers Group Move Conventions from Florida

August 7, 2023 | By Kali Girl

In a significant blow to Florida’s economy, two prominent organizations serving Black professionals have decided to relocate their annual conventions because of “Governor Ron DeSantis’ harmful, racist, and insensitive policies against the Black community.”

CBS News reports, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity initially scheduled its 2025 convention in Orlando. However, due to what they perceive as the state’s “insensitivity” towards people of color, the organization has opted to look for alternative venues.

“In this environment of manufactured division and attacks on the Black community, Alpha Phi Alpha refuses to direct a projected $4.6 million convention economic impact to a place hostile to the communities we serve,” Willis Lonzer III, the fraternity’s president said in a statement.

“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.”

The National Society of Black Engineers also joined the boycott, announcing the cancellation of its planned 2024 convention in Florida.

“We’re celebrating our 50th annual convention in 2024 and decided after much deliberation that the environment in Florida would not be conducive to an ideal membership experience nor an ideal setting for such a milestone event,” Avery Layne, NSBE’s chairperson, said in a statement. 

In response to Florida’s education board’s recent actions to censor the teaching of African American history, both organizations have taken action.

The curriculum changes include a positive portrayal of slavery, emphasizing “slaves developing skills” for “personal benefit,” as seen in the state’s academic standards reviewed by CBS News.

These modifications, along with Governor Ron DeSantis’ stance against critical race theory classes, prompted the NAACP to issue a travel advisory in May, labeling the state as “openly hostile” to African Americans.

Lonzer III stated that this decision will result in a substantial loss of millions of dollars in economic activity for Florida.

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