Tampa students and community members hold protest to demand justice for George Floyd
Tampa, FL – On March 8, 40 protesters gathered in downtown Tampa to demand the conviction of Derek Chauvin. The protest was cohosted by Tampa Bay Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC). Speakers demanded justice for George Floyd. The groups held the protest in response to both the National SDS and the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression calling for a day of action on the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial.
The protesters also demanded justice for local victims of police violence like Jonas Joseph, Josiah Pinner and Dominique Mulkey. They demanded accountability through a civilian police accountability council and community control of the police.
“We must continue fighting for community control to make sure that we can get accountability and justice for victims of police brutality here in Tampa. To make sure that our communities are able to get the changes we need and police are held accountable,” said David Jones, a member of TBCAC.
TBCAC and SDS protested despite political repression after the George Floyd uprising last summer. Both groups stand against HB1 and SB484, bills that will criminalize protests in Florida. Tampa SDS continues to hold events despite a suspension from the University of South Florida. Two SDS members and one TBCAC member were arrested at a protest at USF one month before the start of the Derek Chauvin trial.
“Despite pressure from our school, it was extremely important to show solidarity with the family of George Floyd, and the people in Minneapolis. Even though our last protest ended abruptly due to police interference, that does not mean we’ll back down, especially since March 8 was on the start of Derek Chauvin’s trial,” said Gareth Dawkins, member of Tampa Bay SDS.
As Derek Chauvin’s trial carries on, SDS and TBCAC plan to continue to protest for justice for George Floyd, as well as justice for local victims of police brutality.