It’s the time of year when visitors hit the beaches, parks and other tourist-friendly attractions of Alabama, but not everyone wants the out-of-towners here.
Opponents of Alabama’s immigration law are now calling for a statewide boycott of all tourism-related destinations and businesses in an effort to get the law changed. The coalition of civil rights and labor groups say they intend to get lawmakers to change their mind by hitting the state of Alabama in its pocketbook.
The NAACP, Southern Poverty Law Center and United Auto Workers are just some of the groups that plan to spend money on anti-Alabama advertizing this summer. The coalition calls the law inhumane, and says Alabama should not be rewarded with valuable tourism dollars at popular parks and beaches. State Rep. Phil Williams (R) of Huntsville calls the attempted boycott simply misguided.
“I just think it’s unfortunate that they feel like they have to hurt the state,” said Williams, who voted for both editions of the law and predicted that the boycott would flop. “I don’t think this will amount to a lot because the masses of people, I believe, support this legislation.”
Tourists spent more than $10 billion in Alabama last year, the state’s most profitable year ever.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is spearheading the tourism boycott. Members of that group were not available for comment, but the Alabama State Chapter president of the NAACP did issue a statement expressing his organization’s support.
“The Alabama NAACP fought for the repeal of HB 56 and has joined the fight to repeal HB 658,” said the statement from chapter president Benard Simelton. “We support tourists choosing other coastal states to visit and enjoy the Gulf. We hope our elected officials will do the right thing and overturn both of these draconian laws.”