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Two successful Tampa 5 events held in LA

By staff

LA event for the Tampa 5. | Fight Back! News/staff

Los Angeles, CA – On October 28 two events were held to educate and fundraise for five women who were brutally arrested on University of South Florida (USF) campus for protesting against Governor Ron DeSantis’ attacks on public education and diversity. These women, who are now facing felony charges for their activism, are called the Tampa 5.

The first event was a panel held by Centro Community Service Organization (CSO) and it was held in the morning at East Los Angeles College. The impressive panel included Carlos Montes, who is both a Centro CSO and Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) member, Gia Davila who is one of the Tampa 5, and Lupe Carrasco Cardona who is a chair of the Association of Raza Educators and a founding member of the Liberated Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum Coalition.

Karina Lopez emceed the event and gave the audience a brief history of CSO, stating, “As Chicanos, we face national oppression when we fight for what is naturally ours; whether it’s for winning community control of the police, justice, or a piece of the wealth that we generate through our labor.”

Montes, a veteran of the Chicano and anti-war movement, has a long history of facing political repression for his activism, including an FBI raid in 2011 caused by his support for the revolutionary struggles in Colombia and Palestine. During the panel, Carlos Montes said, “We have a special responsibility being activists and revolutionaries. Because we live in the belly of the beast, we must organize in our workplaces and in our community.”

Gia Davila of the Tampa 5 was the second panelist. Davila started her speech with another chant, “Dare to struggle, dare to win!” Davila spoke about the racist and homophobic legislation pushed by DeSantis. She explained to the audience the experience of being arrested for protesting and how her organization, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), are leading the fight to defeat the charges.

Lupe Carrasco Cardona began her speech by stating that she is a proud Chicana. Carrasco Cardona explained how reactionary forces attacked her and others for trying to incorporate Palestine into statewide initiatives for ethnic studies. Throughout her speech, Cardena expressed that neither the Democratic Party nor the Republican Party are really for the people.

Fundraiser event

Over $3,000 were raised at an event in support of the Tampa 5. The event was held in the very community-centered Boyle Heights Tavern.

Guest speakers included members from Students for a Democratic Society at University of Southern California, BAYAN Southern California, Centro CSO Orange County, and a Teamsters union member from Local 396. Honorary speaker was Gia Davila of the Tampa 5.

This fundraiser was organized by Los Angeles Freedom Road Socialist Organization members Jared Hamil, Victor Rodriguez and Jenny Bekenstein. There were games such as pin the devil tail on Ron DeSantis, a raffle including a variety of cool prizes, a live DJ set and karaoke. Participants chose from a drink menu that included Tampa 5-named drinks such as mojitos and margaritas at the bar.

To kick things off, Jared Hamil, of FRSO and a member of Teamsters Local 396, welcomed everyone for coming and explained the reason for this fundraiser, stating, “People have a right to self-determination, a right for a good education, in the language of the people, and a right to teaching the truth, not from the oppressors’ mouth!”

Jared Hamil spoke about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ war on working and oppressed people. During the event Hamil expressed, “When oppression happens, we don’t back down, we get louder!”

Davila took the stage and thanked everyone for the overwhelming support from organizers across the country and said that students have the right to fight for better diversity programs, stating, “Since the 60s, students have fought for better education, and it’s incredibly important for students to control what education they want.”

As the event continued, guest speakers from different organizations in southern California spoke in solidarity with the Tampa 5. Senator Zavala of SDS USC spoke in solidarity as did Alex Orellana, a Teamsters union member of Local 396. Orellana spoke about the struggles working and oppressed people go through in our current political climate. Two members from BAYAN Southern California, an anti-imperialist Filipino organization, delivered a solidarity speech with the Tampa 5.

David Pulido, a member of Orange County CSO, came up to talk about their police accountability work and expressed the same struggle they’re facing with regards to student education and diversity rights in Orange County. Lastly, Jenny Bekenstein, member of FRSO and a Teamsters union member from Local 396, said some closing thoughts on the Tampa 5 stating, “I love that the police are so threatened by these five young women.” As people cheered hearing this, she drove home the fact that women have been in the forefront for better rights, justice, and will always be fighting for oppressed people’s freedoms.

As the event was ending, Jared Hamil and Gia Davila closed out the fundraiser by asking people for final donations. Many people raised their hands and donated $100 to $200. In closing out, Hamil exclaimed the fundraiser raised over $2000 alone. Davila talked about the overwhelming the support she and the rest of the Tampa 5 have been receiving from organizers and reiterates that students today are invigorated and are not scared to protest their rights for better education and ethnic curricula for their schools across the country.

#LosAngelesCA #PoliticalRepression #Tampa5 #StudentMovement #CentroCSO #SDS