Tampa 5 solidarity rally in Dallas
Dallas, TX – On July 12, 30 organizers, activists and community members beat the 105-degree heat and joined in solidarity to seek justice for the Tampa 5, rallying at Dealey Plaza, on the day of the Five’s court appearance.
In March, the Tampa 5, namely Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez and Jeanie Kida, all members of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), were protesting to keep diversity equity and inclusion programs alive at the University of South Florida. They were met with brutality from the campus police, and now face felony charges.
Several organizations – including Progressive Student Union of UT Arlington (PSU), National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression-Dallas (NAARPR-Dallas), Austin SDS, Dallas Anti-War Committee, Freedom Road Socialist Organization-Dallas, Palestinian Youth Movement, La Frontera Nos Cruzo, and the Dallas Peace and Justice Center – spoke in solidarity with the Tampa 5.
J Rodriguez of the PSU spoke to the rally, “Protesting against the repressive laws that Ron DeSantis is absolutely justified, and students and activists should continue to do so.
Sydney Loving of NAARPR-Dallas said, “We are in a new era of repression and this requires a new era of solidarity, repression is not new, but there are things about this case that are different, usually the charges are dropped but a month later, they added another person and two months later they added three new felony counts, after that they were offered a deal, the deal said that they had to apologize to the officers that brutalized and harassed them and they said ‘hell no!’ We're gonna fight repression with solidarity and we will not allow the Tampa 5 to be the canaries in the coal mine.”
A member of the Palestinian Youth Movement said, “This unjustified attempt to silence youth and student organizers is something all too familiar to the Palestinian community. For years, Zionist organizations have been enacting targeted harassment campaigns against Palestinian and Muslim students and organizers. We recognize this as an intimidation tactic meant to discourage organizers and activists from exercising their rights to free speech and protest. Furthermore, we see this as an attack on academic freedom and a repression of student organizers. Students must be able to speak out against discrimination, oppression and violence without being policed by their own universities.”
Jake Holtzman of the Austin SDS said, “We are going to follow the example of the heroic activists in Tampa, who continue to organize and fight for diversity programs and increases to Black enrollment on their campus at the University of South Florida. Because we know that the only way we ever win demands for the people is by organizing, protesting and fighting back! Because we say: Protesting is not a crime, justice for the Tampa 5!”
Jo Hargis of the Dallas Anti-War Committee said, “When we are attacked by the state, we need to recognize that we are the threat they see us to be to the status quo. And when we come together, and when we are in solidarity across our movements, the people our government sees as a threat. They see the Teamsters as a threat. The Teamsters are probably going to go on strike very soon. We see that they see student organizing as a threat. We see that they see diversity, people standing up for that as a threat.
When we see that, that tells us that we have allies, that we can join with those people, and we can fight together, and we can win.”
Cassandra Swart, another member of the Dallas Anti-War Committee said, “The United States does not have a right to clamp to down on human rights violations internationally while clamping down on rights in their country. As a transgender woman I am deeply concerned about the attacks on trans and other rights but the attacks on these rights shouldn't not make us lose hope, we have the right to fight these attacks from Florida to Texas.”
Omar Lazcano, another member of PSU, said, “The Tampa 5 told truth and the people are on their side. We know they carry the truth; we are the people, standing beside them.”
The rally ended with chants in solidarity with the Tampa 5 such as, “Protesting is not a crime! Justice for the Tampa 5!”