Orlando rallies for immigrant and LGBTQ rights
Orlando, FL – On Saturday, July 1, over 350 community members marched up and down Aloma Avenue against the Governor Ron DeSantis-backed anti-immigrant bill, SB 1718, as well as the governor’s continued attacks on Florida’s LGBTQ community. The sweeping bill, which went into effect that same day, prohibits funding for social services for undocumented immigrants, invalidates driver’s licenses issued to undocumented people by other states, makes it harder for undocumented workers to find jobs, and much more.
The event started off with a rally outside the local office of State Representative Susan Plasencia, a right-wing Latino of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent who voted in favor of the bill. The crowd demanded that she be held accountable for her role in the attacks on the Latino community in Orlando and across the state, calling her a “traidora” or “traitor.”
Felipe Sousa-Lazaballet of the HOPE Community Center said, “We are more united than ever,” adding, “Tell Susan we are watching what she is doing. We will not forget! We knocked on hundreds of doors this past week educating constituents about the harm created by policies she voted for.”
Some of the other organizations in attendance included the Florida Immigrant Coalition, Poder Latinx, and the Florida Farmworkers Association.
The march then proceeded westward down Aloma Avenue, accompanied by chants like, “Sí se puede!” (“Yes we can!”) and “Aquí estamos, y no nos vamos! Y si nos echan, nos regresamos!” (“We are here and we won’t leave! And if they throw us out, we will be back!”). The march received constant honks in support from cars passing by.
A coalition of legal advocates from the Southern Poverty Law Center, American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Immigrant Justice, and the American Immigration Council have announced plans to file a federal lawsuit challenging SB 1718.