America's oldest Black fraternity to relocate Florida convention, blaming DeSantis' anti-woke policies

The historically Black fraternity blamed Governor Ron DeSantis's policies for the decision, calling them "manufactured division and attacks on the Black community."

Alpha Phi Alpha's decision came on the heels of travel warnings issued by the NAACP and LULAC

A historically Black fraternity relocated its 2025 convention out of Florida after travel warnings were issued by the NAACP and other civil rights groups.

Alpha Phi Alpha (APA), the oldest Black collegiate fraternity, hosts an annual convention for members to convene and discuss various topics. The 2023 theme was “Strengthening the Brotherhood and Standing for Social Justice.” 

The goal of this year’s convention was to bring awareness to “unrelenting attempts at voter disenfranchisement, racial discrimination and the ongoing brutalization and killing of unarmed African Americans by law enforcement.”

[RELATED: 1 in 8 FL HS students refuses to attend college in state because of DeSantis]

On July 26th, APA announced at the convention in Dallas, TX. that the 2025 convention, originally planned for Orlando, FL. would be relocated to a place not yet determined. 

“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,” General President Dr. Willis L. Lonzer III expressed to members in an announcement. 

The group cited a recent change to Florida’s social studies curriculum on slavery. According to APA, the new curriculum “erases Florida’s role in slavery and oppression, blames the victims, and declares that African Americans who endured slavery benefitted from the horrific and torturous institution.”

However, the Florida Department of Education curriculum outline does mention slavery and the presence of Africans in Florida.

Even the most controversial statement in the outline, which directs teachers to include instruction surrounding “how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit,” was clarified by Governor Ron Desantis to mean that slaves  “developed skills in spite of slavery, not because of slavery.”

In addition to the new curriculum, other recent “openly hostile” policies include the Stop WOKE Act, limiting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion discussions in colleges, and more strict immigration policies in Florida.

[RELATED: DeSantis blocks taxpayer-funded DEI programs]

“The actions taken by Governor DeSantis have created a shadow of fear within communities across the state,” said Lydia Medrano, a League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) vice president. LULAC also issued travel warnings along with the NAACP.

APA is not the only organization to cancel or relocate events from Florida due to the political climate. Others include “Game of Thrones” convention Con of Thrones, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Grace Hopper Celebration. An organizer for Con of Thrones told Fox 35 Orlando that her staff felt “incredibly unsafe” when they discovered their events would be hosted in the Sunshine State.

Campus Reform contacted Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity president, Dr. Lonzer, along with the LULAC media department for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.