Comments from our colleagues on the front lines in Florida have been overall in favor of showing solidarity in Tampa.

{Because of the dire threats to their employment at this time under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Administration, the following quotes have been offered anonymously}.

“I am strongly in favor of holding the 2024 annual meeting in Tampa. We are under siege, and 63 years of progressive work at my campus is being dismantled. It is important to understand that while Gov. Ron DeSantis is making a high-profile example of us, we are not alone. The entire public education system from kindergarten through the universities has been deliberately undermined and the effects will be felt for generations to come. At this time of overt suppression, we need anthropological insights and activist support in continuing to push back against systemic racism, the erasure of history, and attacks on hard-won advances in immigrants’ rights, voting rights, gender identity and expression, and economic, environmental, and criminal justice. State travel advisories have been issued by human rights organizations, but many local and state groups will stand ready to partner. I invite you to reach out to them. It is worth noting that both Tampa and St. Petersburg have received perfect scores on the recent national Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Right now, the threats remain largely at the level of policy in key areas where anthropologists can engage in direct dialogue and offer their expertise. I believe strongly in the power of boycotts, but the forces now running this state would not care at all if a comparatively small conference did not show up. They are taking on Disney, after all. Meanwhile, those of us on the ground fighting and those suffering the most direct effects of this 21st century social death will simply become more isolated than we already are.”

“My thoughts are that this is an opportunity for “good trouble.” From my untenured perspective: are there ways that AAA could help promote our work and achievements to help us gain/sustain our academic records? For instance, could they organize or encourage committees to select Guest Speakers or Keynotes from our state, or can any of the publications under the purview of AAA consider special issues led by us? To me, this would strengthen any of our cases should our job status be threatened. It also helps us with the more externally facing networking at a time when we are overwhelmed with internal preservation.”

“I think we need the AAA in Tampa now more than ever. A silent protest (silent on the governor’s ears anyway) seems much less effective than having 6000 unwanted guests show up in Florida to call attention to these issues.”

“We as anthropologists need to carry on with our research even though the climate is challenging. The AAA provides a valuable platform to amplify and empower marginalized voices, and to engage conversations about why such discourse is crucial in a democratic society. I plan to submit a paper. Also, for those worried about the consequences of presenting at the conference, I think that is a personal decision. I know I personally am willing to fight that fight, however it’s worth pointing out that the folks most at risk for repercussions are probably those working in Florida, and that folks from other states might be less at risk.

“We could arrange tours of school libraries with shelves devoid of books.”

“While boycotting a state is one way to make a statement, I think it is essential that important voices don’t get shut out because of the situation in our state. Especially given the history of what Rick Scott said about anthropology, I think it’s important that we show up, be heard, and carry on with our business and scholarship as usual. Plus, there are plenty of people that will benefit from the conference being here. I am working with the convention center in Tampa on promotion of zero waste platforms for incoming conferences — would love to see anthros commit to this and would be glad to help.”

“The AAPA faced a similar situation when its meetings were in Austin, Texas, where anti-gay laws were recently passed. The Executive Board considered canceling or moving the meeting somewhere else. We did not change the meeting and I am glad we did not. I think it is better if the AAA comes here with its ideological power.”

“I think we would make the biggest impact on some of the most critical issues facing us here in Florida by having 6000+ anthropologists actively engaged in making good trouble in the public arena in all the ways we can and showcasing why/how our work makes a difference even in these very trying circumstances. We just need to figure out how best to make use of such a big platform as AAA and use the opportunity to influence decision makers and use it as an opportunity to support vulnerable and targeted communities.”

“I fully support having the AAA here in Tampa. Having a big annual meeting here is a big plus for our grad students, and likely will result in the largest ever number of presentations by us locals. The opportunity to have presentations that go against the current politics about teaching etc. is fully appropriate.”