How many more alarms need to be sounded?

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If you think that civil rights have been under attack like never before, you are not imagining things. Multiple organizations are now sounding the alarm about an extraordinary assault on human dignity. These warnings come thanks to a depraved Republican Party and bigoted villains such as Ron DeSantis, who is seeking to bring his brand of fear and hate to the White House.

This week, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization in the United States, issued a “state of emergency” declaration “following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year.” Cynics who think this is just histrionics or that they do this all the time should take note that this is the first such declaration in HRC’s more than 40-year history.

Along with the declaration, HRC released a report detailing more than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been signed into law this year—more than double last year’s record. As the report points out, the bills “are fueled by an anti-LGBTQ+ Republican establishment—and coordinated, well-funded extremist groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Heritage Foundation and the Family Policy Alliance—insistent on trying to control our families and lives.”

This declaration follows the independent issuance of travel advisories for Florida by several civil rights organizations. In April, Equality Florida, the Florida Immigration Coalition, and the Florida State Conference of the NAACP each issued travel advisories for the state. Equality Florida noted lasting damage being done to Florida, which is “losing conferences, and top students who written off Florida” as well as families who are selling their homes because of school censorship, book banning, and healthcare restrictions.

In late May, the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens also issued travel advisories for Florida. The NAACP’s advisory warns that DeSantis and his legislative minions are “openly hostile toward African Americans, people of color and LGBTQ+ individuals.” The document details how DeSantis has launched an “all-out attack” on its citizens based on race, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, and other factors while promoting fear, bullying, and official intimidation.

In addition to its state of emergency, HRC recently joined Equality Florida in issuing an updated joint Florida travel advisory that “outlines the devastating impacts of laws” so that “travelers and residents can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.” The updated advisory is in response to shameful developments such as DeSantis’ recent expansion of the “Don’t Say Gay” ban on gender identity and sexual orientation instruction from K-3 to all grades.

The thought that multiple emergency declarations and advisories regarding civil rights are being issued in the United States in 2023 is disturbing. It is the product of a Republican Party that continues to promote a path of hate and endorse so-called leaders like Ron DeSantis. Hate is on the ballot in 2024, and we need to show up in droves to vote it down.

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