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University of Central Florida students rally in support of Tampa 5

By Vanessa Christaldi

Orlando, Florida rally in solidarity with the Tampa 5

Orlando, FL – On Monday, November 13, Orlando for Gender Equality organized a rally at the University of Central Florida in support of the Tampa 5. Chrisley Carpio, Laura Rodriguez and Lauren Pineiro of the Tampa 5 spoke at the demonstration as a part of their national speaking tour, in which they visited over 20 cities to bring awareness to their case.

The Tampa 5 are five protesters who were brutalized and arrested in March on the University of South Florida campus. The group was protesting Florida House Bill 999 and Senate Bill 266. These bills, which have since been signed into law, prevent schools from spending money on programs that “promote or engage in political or social activism” and subject any curriculum bringing attention to inequality and oppression to censorship or removal. The USF police assaulted and arrested the group of protesters. The Tampa 5 are now facing false felony charges that carry up to ten years in prison.

“If we don’t fight for our First Amendment rights now, we are saying that it’s okay for DeSantis, for our university administrators, for our government officials to take them away,” said one of the Tampa 5, Chrisley Carpio. “Student protest is the only reason ethnic studies, cultural centers and cultural groups exist at colleges in the first place. Even though it’s the five of us on trial, it’s the entire student movement and our right to protest that is being tested right now.”

The group of about 20 joined together in chants of “Drop the charges now” and “When students’ rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

Alyna Woodall, co-founder and co-president of the Interdisciplinary Graduate Alliance, also spoke at the rally, stating, “It should come as no surprise that the curriculums they are threatening at every level of education in Florida – Black history, women and gender studies, sociology, anthropology – show us how institutions perpetuate violence against our most marginalized.”

Woodall continued, “This administration wants Florida students and faculty to forget that we are capable of tangible social change. They want us to forget what we are capable of if we stand together, and they think that if they target us one by one, we are easier to pick off.”

The rally also included speakers from UCF student groups Color Me Queer and YDSA, as well as speeches from Orlando for Gender Equality and the New Era Young Lords Florida chapter.

The Tampa 5 are currently preparing for their trial, which begins on December 12, and are asking people to show up in support on their court date.

Those who want to support the Tampa 5 can also sign the petition at, visit and follow @justiceforthetampa5 on Instagram.

#OrlandoFL #Tampa5