Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.


By staff

Tampa 5 speaking tour in Orange County, California. | Fight Back! News/staff

Orange County, CA – On Friday, October 27, over 30 students and community members gathered across two events to listen to Gia Davila of the Tampa 5 on her stop of the Justice for the Tampa 5 speaking tour. The Tampa 5 are a group of students, workers, and community activists who were violently arrested while protesting Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ racist attacks on education at the University of South Florida. They are facing up to ten years in prison and are on a speaking tour to call for these unjust charges to be dropped.


By staff

Participants in a panel against the repression of progressive speech on campus chant, "Protesting is not a crime!"  | Fight Back! News/staff

Salt Lake City, UT – On October 23, members of the Salt Lake City community filled a room on the University of Utah campus for a panel against the repression of progressive speech on campus. Chrisley Carpio of the Tampa 5 was the keynote presenter and was joined by MECHA at the University of Utah and Armed Queers SLC.


By Justin Bent

Tampa 5 speaking tour event in Arlington, Texas. | Fight Back! News/staff

Arlington, TX – On Wednesday, October 25, the Progressive Student Union at University of Texas, Arlington hosted Laura Rodriguez on her tour across the South and Southwest, to raise awareness about the repression she and the other members of the Tampa 5 are facing.


By staff

Gia Davila of the Tampa 5 | Fight Back! News/staff

Seattle, WA – On October 23, Gia Davila of the Tampa 5 spoke before an enthusiastic crowd of 50 people at the University of Washington’s Ethnic Cultural Center. The Tampa 5 are charged with felonies for protesting against Governor Ron DeSantis’s assaults on education. The five, three student organizers, a union member, and a community activist – are currently on a tour of the United States to raise awareness of their case, and how to resist political repression.