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New York activist solidarity with the Tampa 5

By Sharif Hall

Protest in solidarity for the Tampa 5 in NYC.

New York, NY – 20 activists held a solidarity rally at City Hall in Manhattan to demand that charges be dropped against the Tampa 5. The Tampa 5 are campus activists arrested for protesting the attacks on education by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The solidarity rally was part of a national day of action on July 12.

On March 6, four members of Tampa Bay’s SDS and a union worker were arrested for protesting for more diversity on their University of South Florida campus. They rallied and marched against the repressive laws that DeSantis passed in Florida, specifically around the bills that target LGBTQ people, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs in higher education. Laura Rodriguez, Lauren Pineiro, Jeanie Kida, Gia Davila and Chrisley Carpio are facing felony charges for peacefully protesting on their campus.

“Protesting is not a crime! Justice for the Tampa 5,” chanted the crowd led by a New York Community Action Project (NYCAP) speaker.

“Governor DeSantis is far from being a clown. He believes in what he’s doing. He’s a white supremacist and a bigot, and he believes in his cause. And that makes him dangerous,” said Michela Martinazzi, a member of NYCAP.

Several speakers commented that if the Tampa 5 activists are charged, then organizers throughout the country will feel the repercussions. We are seeing similarly heavy repression with Cop City in Atlanta, Georgia.

If the charges against the Tampa 5 are not dropped, and the case does go to trial, NYCAP and the other organizations in attendance committed to continue to organize more rallies and stand in solidarity with the Tampa 5 activists.

Speakers suggested the success of the Tampa 5 solidarity campaign potentially delivers a major blow to DeSantis as he runs for U.S. president over the next year. The DeSantis campaign is already stumbling. Defeating DeSantis now will prevent his repressive policies and racist and bigoted attacks from going nationwide.

Speakers from New York Boricua Resistance, BAYAN USA, Women in Struggle, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and Workers World Party spoke to the importance of the charges being dropped.

The National Alliance Against Racism and Political Repression (NAARPR) and National Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) called for the national day of action.

#NewYorkNY #PoliticalRepression #Tampa5