Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

In-Justice System

By Cas Casanova

Tampa 5 speaking tour event in Tallahassee. | Fight Back! News/staff

Tallahassee, FL – On November 17, Chrisley Carpio and Gia Davila continued their nationwide speaking tour with a stop in Tallahassee, Florida. On this tour, the Tampa 5 have visited 25 cities in 16 different states to raise awareness about their story – they were arrested for protesting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ racist attacks on public education and are currently facing multiple felony charges and up to ten years in prison.

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By staff

Orlando visit of the Tampa 5 speaking tour. | Fight Back! News/staff

Orlando, FL – On Saturday, November 11, around 20 community members gathered at the Orlando Public Library for a discussion panel featuring the Tampa 5 as part of their national speaking tour. The event was hosted by Orlando for Gender Equality and the Florida chapter of the New Era Young Lords. The panel’s speakers consisted of Laura Rodriguez, Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro and Chrisley Carpio of the Tampa 5.

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By staff

Fight Back! is circulating this statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the US Palestinian Community Network

On November 15, three FBI agents came to the Chicago home of an international solidarity activist in Chicago who had traveled to Venezuela. The activist wasn’t home, but the agent in charge gave the landlord his card. He asked to be let into the building, but the landlord refused and instead reported the visit to the tenant.

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By Tracy Molm

Minnesotans at protest in Atlanta against Cop City. | Fight Back! News/staff

Atlanta, GA – On November 13, five Climate Justice Committee – Minnesota (CJC) members joined activists from around the country to oppose the building of an urban warfare training facility for police on the Weelaunee Forest on the edge of Atlanta, Georgia.

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By staff

Community members kneel near a collection of candles while other hold signs that read "Justice for Joel Acevedo"

Milwaukee, WI – After a five-day trial, a jury acquitted former Milwaukee police officer Michael Mattioli of first-degree reckless homicide on Friday, November 10. Mattioli was on trial for the murder of Joel Acevedo, which took place in April 2020 and was one of the central cases during the 2020 uprising in Milwaukee.

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By Alex Carson

Atlanta protest against the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange and Cop City. | Fight Back! News/staff

Atlanta, GA – On the afternoon of November 11, about 200 community members gathered outside of the Atlanta city hall to demand an end to the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program and an end to the construction of the $90 million police training facility known as Cop City.

According to Georgia State University, GILEE is, “a joint project of Georgia State University and local, state, federal, and international law enforcement, and public safety agencies. GILEE’s mission is to enhance law enforcement executive development and international cooperation.”

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By Andy Schaefer

San Jose event to defend the Tampa 5. | Fight Back! News/staff

San Jose, CA – Student activist Gia Davila of the Tampa 5 visited San Jose on October 26, as part of the Justice for the Tampa 5 national speaking tour. She spoke at two events about how the Tampa 5’s struggle against systems of repression became personal when they were brutalized by the police and betrayed by the justice system.

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By Joe Iosbaker

Participants in the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression conference.  | Fight Back! News/staff

Chicago, IL – Celebrating 50 years since it was founded in Chicago, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), gathered here again, November 3-5.

The National Alliance is new wine in an old wine skin. Executive Director Frank Chapman, the legendary Angela Davis, and a small band of movement veterans from the 1970s and 1980s were surrounded mainly by a sea of college and even high school students, young workers, Gen Z and Millennials. Most of the conference attendees were Black, Latino, Arab, Asian and Pacific Islanders.

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By Gabriel Quiroz Jr

LA SWAT raid that killed Gerardo Flores. | Fight Back! News/staff

By Gabriel Quiroz Jr and Sol Márquez

Boyle Heights, CA – On October 23, a heavily militarized police force of close to 100 Los Angeles Police Department officers surrounded a residential home in Boyle Heights. The raid would result in the death of a Chicano man.

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By staff

Denver, CO – On October 27, Laura Rodriguez of the Tampa 5 continued her speaking tour with a stop in Denver, Colorado. The purpose of the tour is to combat political repression in the form of the felony charges that would put her and her fellow Tampa 5 organizers in prison for five to ten years.

These felony charges come against the Tampa 5 after they were shoved to the ground, brutalized, groped and arrested by police officers during their protest against Governor Ron DeSantis’ attacks on diversity and equity programs at the University of South Florida.

Rodriguez addressed a crowd of 50 community members, union organizers and student organizers.

The event consisted of two panels. The first panel highlighted different organizers and their own perspectives when it comes to the different barriers they have faced in education and organizing. The panel featured Jacob Marshall of SDS; Miah Ntepp, Denver NAACP vice president and leader at MSU’s Black Student Alliance; and Candi CdeBaca, a tireless advocate for Denver communities and former city councilperson.

Kat Draken, a shop steward for Teamsters Local 455 in Denver and former student organizer in Tallahassee, Florida talked about her experiences when her fellow organizers were arrested for protesting a few years before, “You have to be persistent and annoying, you have to keep holding events and keep up the pressure, if they figure out that they can just wait you out and let the momentum die, that’s what they are going to do.”

The second panel featured organizers who have themselves faced political repression or whose work surrounds political repression in some way. Shaine Carroll-Frey from the Freedom Road Socialist Organization spoke on the repression the organization experienced in 2010 when prominent leaders of the FRSO were raided by the FBI in a coordinated attack aimed at destroying the organization. Other speakers included Ryan Stitzel, a community organizer with Denver Aurora Community Action Committee, who organizes against police terror in the Denver Metro area, and Eliza Lucero, a community organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation in Denver, as well as a labor organizer with the Colorado Education Association. Lucero was a leading local organizer of the mass demonstrations against the overturning of Roe v. Wade and in the 2020 uprisings was one of the local leaders targeted by the Aurora Police Department and charged with multiple bogus felonies.

During the keynote speech, Rodriguez stated, “When they asked us to apologize to the police who had beat us up, to apologize to the people who brutalized our friends right in front of our faces and we said, ‘No thank you.’ And then we were charged with additional felonies. So now I face ten years in prison for standing up for what I know is right.”

This event comes at a time when organizers around the country are facing arrests and other forms of suppression surrounding the mass support for Palestine. Just a couple days before, Ron DeSantis’ administration took steps to ban the pro-Palestine group Students for Justice in Palestine from campuses in Florida. This fact was brought up continuously throughout the second panel because of the connection between the political repression the Tampa 5 is facing and the political repression against pro-Palestinian organizers.

The high energy event ended with chants and a sing-along banjo rendition of Free the Tampa 5 by SDS member Jake Newman. Many different organizations attended and participated in the event, including Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Students for Democratic Society, Party for Liberation and Socialism, Boulder Young Democratic Socialists of America, and the Denver-Aurora Community Action Committee.

#DenverCO #PoliticalRepression #Tampa5 #SDS