Tampa vigil on anniversary of mass kidnapping of Mexican students
Tampa, FL – On Sept. 26, Raices en Tampa hosted a vigil and rally on the anniversary on the kidnapping and disappearance of 43 Mexican students. Approximately 20 activists gathered holding signs that read, “Activism is not a crime!” and “They thought they could bury us, but they didn’t realize that we were seeds.”
On Sept. 26, 2014, 43 students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College went missing in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. The students were on their way to a protest. Sometime during the trip, local police intercepted them and kidnapped them. A year later, the families of the 43 students and Mexican activists demand that the culprits be brought to justice.
The rally was led by Daisy Garcia, who gave a background on what occurred a year ago. She spoke about the importance of the event, “It is important to understand that the 43 students were more than activists, they were students, sons, brothers, they were loved ones. The injustice caused by those that wanted to silence these 43 activists also destroyed many families, but it backfired on them because now we have all united to make their voice stronger than ever. We are here to remember those 43 students and salute them for their struggle and demand that justice be served! We are all Ayotzinapa!”
Garcia introduced speakers from Tampa Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Tampa Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), and Raices en Tampa. In between speeches she led chants such as, “When activists are under attack, what do we do? Stand up fight back!”
Chrisley Carpio, a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Students for a Democratic Society, spoke about how the U.S. oppresses Mexico. Carpio stated, “To show solidarity for the Ayotzinapa 43 and the Mexican people -what does this really mean for us, for FRSO, as Communists in the U.S.? We see our own imperialist government that helps create militarized walls, whether on the Mexican border or within Palestine, that drives indigenous people from their lands and into oblivion, to make way for Coca-Colas, Walmarts and SodaStreams. We can talk about holding people accountable, we can talk about decolonizing land, we can even talk about breaking down walls and ending inequality. But it is through revolution that the people of Mexico, the peoples of the U.S. and Aztlan, and the oppressed peoples of the world become free.”
The rally ended with a round of chants and with the attendees remembering the struggle that the Ayotzinapa students waged.
Alicia Gazga, an organizer with Raices en Tampa, summed up the rally, stating, “As Raices in Tampa it was very important to us to show solidarity with Ayotzinapa and also with all the other thousands of people that disappear each year. It is not only happening in Mexico but also in my country Honduras where activists are killed all the time because of them trying to expose the government.”
Raices en Tampa will continue organizing the Tampa community to win drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants and will be hosting more events in the near future.